By on April 21, 2021

Having noticed that Washington got a bit of publicity for vowing to ban all vehicles reliant on internal combustion after 2030, a dozen other American states decided it would be a good idea to reaffirm their own religious-like commitment to the environment by saying they too will be restricting your choice of automobiles by 2035.

The coalition of states — most of which don’t have a populace that’s dependent on automotive manufacturing for work — also formally asked the Biden administration to introduce standards that would obligate the United States to ban everything that emits smoke within the next fifteen years. Many activist groups are calling it a heroic act, though it’s difficult to recall any parables where the hero went around banning things and also represented an institutional power structure. 

Requests were issued in a letter to the White House and signed by the governors of the following states: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington. Initially reported by Reuters, the correspondence mentions that there’s no framework in the Biden-Harris administration’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan that would progress the country toward an all-out ICE ban.

From Reuters:

They argued that “by establishing a clear regulatory path to ensuring that all vehicles sold in the United States are zero-emission, we can finally clear the air and create high-road jobs.”

The governors also want Biden to set standards and adopt incentives aimed at ensuring 100% zero-emission sales of medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles by 2045.

The White House did not immediately comment on the governors’ letter.

States and some lawmakers hope that Biden’s endorsement of a phase-out date will speed the transition to EVs by users and automakers. EVs currently make up just 2 [percent] of U.S. vehicle sales.

This comes directly after the president has seen increased pressure from Democrat lawmakers to adopt California’s aggressive environmental doctrine on a national scale, which includes the prohibition of gasoline and diesel-driven passenger vehicles by 2035. While Biden’s opposition to the proposal during the 2020 campaign might lead you to believe this is a waste of time, the administration has actually gone back on numerous issues since the election — with fracking bans probably being one of the more relevant examples.

While it’s certainly possible, we’re not expecting anything committal from the White House. Truth be told, we’re not even all that confident most of these states will adhere to the timelines they’re demanding. These internal combustion bans usually seem to be more about scoring brownie points with a subset of the public than trying to establish realistic environmental policies and that’s one reason you see them constantly revised or pushed back to later dates.

The industry does this as well, vowing to provide rampant electrification or autonomous capabilities within the lineups of various brands by some irrelevant date that is perpetually revised in the hopes that you’ll have forgotten the original target. But the UAW is clearly getting worried. With EVs requiring few man-hours to manufacture, union groups around the world are becoming fearful that the transition to electric cars will mean massive layoffs. However, governments always claim that the road to electrification and automation will ultimately create new jobs in exciting technical fields that will offer much better pay than a line worker could have hoped for.

[Image: Marc Bruxelle/Shutterstock]

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77 Comments on “A Dozen More States Virtue Signaling Over Vehicle Bans...”


  • avatar
    kcflyer

    Stealing from the poor to give to the rich. Evidently 80 million people think this is a good idea. I’m stuck in NY, kids are grown and rooted here. Wouldn’t be a bad state if we could jettison NYC. Maybe build a wall around it and make it part of the new state of D.C. the dems are pushing for? Throw in Philly, Baltimore and Newark. It could be a liberal utopia. No I.C.E cars, no cops, no legal guns, etc.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Must be a bad strain of weed they are smoking.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Well if we are banning anything that emits smoke, North Carolina is in trouble as cigarettes typically emit smoke.

    • 0 avatar
      Rick T.

      People in NC used to say that’s the smell of money.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Yep. Wonder if they’d be on board for banning Cigarettes? Clearly a case can be made that they are a public heath nuissance. At the end of the day it is right up there with Covid-19 with respect to annual deaths and look at all we’ve done to fight that.

        Bet that virtue from the state government would go right out the window in a puff of smoke.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Surprised NC and NM are on-board with this nonsense!

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        “Surprised NC and NM are on-board with this nonsense!”

        North Carolina has Lithium deposits. New Mexico has rare earth metals and lithium. Both states stand to gain with the transition to EVs. Follow the money.

        https://www.piedmontlithium.com/
        https://www.thinkgeoenergy.com/new-lithium-from-geothermal-brine-project-to-kick-off-in-new-mexico-u-s/

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    I wonder if liberalism is just a form of Tourette’s. You have angry outbursts but instead of swearing you just emit a stream of verbal diarrhea that has to do with governmental policy or asserting anyone that disagrees with you is a racist.

    Do these people think past their political agenda? Because any reasonable person knows that these types of mandates are ridiculous. It’s also tantamount to saying that the process of building and fueling electric vehicles is completely green. Yes, that includes the highly destructive and polluting battery mining and the power plants that generate electricity (of which we don’t have enough of because libs think coal = bad and nuclear = super mega bad).

    It’s really frightening that people (mostly living but some dead too) vote for this nonsense. It’s not rooted in reality, it’s rooted in this fairy tale, euphoric mindset that dangerous and unrealistic.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      This is liberalism in name only. Ask two self-professed liberals if these types of initiatives are wise and one will say absolutely while the other will claim the entire premise of instituting restrictions is offensively illiberal. I’ve ran that experiment on a nearly daily basis for years.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Agreed, especially the last paragraph!

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      This is not liberalism. This is stupidity. Stupidity is a product of liberalism. Liberalism allowed brainwashing of the people and now, these idiots are elected into some offices.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Yes, I understand, nobody brainwashes anybody in an illiberal totalitarian system.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          “Yes, I understand, nobody brainwashes anybody in an illiberal totalitarian system.”

          In America there is only one totalitarian system today – liberal totalitarian system.

          Conservatives sometimes still saying word “freedom”, which was the American virtue. Without freedom, America is cooked. As one person put it, “America is falling from the 20th floor and while flying at the 10th still acts as it stands on the roof of the building”

          Why not states decide together or each goes its own way? If 12 states push on 38 – this is fascism. States will leave the union.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I understand that English is not your first language, but “liberal totalitarian system” is an oxymoron. If people think that changing the fuel of cars is “totalitarian” they have gone off the deep end.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          Not oxymoron at all. When a liberal tells that everyone must follow their liberal views, this becomes totalitarian.
          In fact, Ronald Reagan said this:

          “If Fascism Ever Comes to America, It Will Come in the Name of Liberalism”

          And as we know, fascism is a totalitarian thing. Reagan saw this coming. I guess, Americans don’t like to live in prosperity. The country is divided into casts. Rich people, pushing for fake liberalism is a governing cast. And then there will be millions of jackals waiting for their peace of synthetic sausage Bill Gates promised will taste just like real. But jackals will start killing each other. This is hunweybins and cultural revolution we’re living through.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Most definitions define liberalism along these lines:

            “a political and social philosophy that promotes individual rights, civil liberties, democracy, and free enterprise.”

            You may feel that the left is deviating from the above, but if they are, what they are advocating is not liberalism.

            Liberalism and totalitarianism are mutually exclusive by definition.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        …This is not liberalism. This is stupidity. Stupidity is a product of liberalism. Liberalism allowed brainwashing of the people and now, these idiots are elected into some offices…

        Speaking of being brainwashed…sheesh. And no, banning ICE cars is stupid, at least until batteries are cheaper and electricity is all sourced from non-polluting sources. Then it might make sense…

      • 0 avatar
        Dynasty

        No. Liberalism is born out of stupidity.

        • 0 avatar
          Old_WRX

          I can’t even tell what “liberalism” is supposed to be anymore. The classic line is that the dems are liberal and look out for the little guy, but modern dems obviously regard the little man as someone to rob.

          Liberals supposedly support human rights like free speech. But, the nominal liberals (at least the noisy ones) are dead set against free speech (unless you’re echoing what they say). This amount of nonsense is enough to make one’s head spin. Even the ACLU has gone over to the enemy. Wonderful times.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      NFTs, BTC and most of the stock market is a fairy tale. no reason to get panties twisted over something that will never happen and wont effect the loudest whiners regardless.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Zero national debt by 2045. Balanced budget by 2025. Control the controllable.

    California deficit expected to grow to 17-20 Billion by 2025.

    National debt over 26 Trillion.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Do you think a government that issues no debt whatsoever is using taxpayer funds effectively?

      Here’s a hint: No successful large business is ever debt-free.

      • 0 avatar
        Garrett

        Correct.

        Often, the cost of debt is lower than the cost of equity. Therefore, it can be cheaper to raise capital via the debt markets. Then, what you do is deploy that capital to generate returns and use that leverage to raise your ROE (return on equity).

        One problem. The government isn’t borrowing to invest and generate a return. It’s borrower to cover a structural shortfall.

        Tax revenues are cheaper as a capital source than debt is. The only problem is that the political cost of raising taxes is higher than the political cost of increasing debt.

        In addition, a business is often rewarded with higher valuations for reducing their expenses. In the case of the government, it is punished for reducing expenditures – either at the ballot box, or as a result of decreased influence and power.

        So your assertion regarding a successful large business is correct, but it is completely irrelevant in the context of how government functions.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Tax proceeds may not be cheaper than debt when you take timing into account. There’s a reason why no government anywhere saves up cash before building major infrastructure projects. They are always funded through debt.

          Beyond the immediate timing issue, if lower tax rates financed by debt enable higher growth or allow government to address growth-preventing problems immediately without tax hikes, government debt may pay for itself even without taking timing into account.

          There is less difference between government and business finance than you think. The big difference is between institutional and personal finance.

          • 0 avatar
            Garrett

            I’m all in favor of lower taxes funding greater economic growth. Wonderful idea.

            The problem here is that what you and I described isn’t happening. We’re simply piling on debt with no clear plan to stop nor grow our way out.

            This ultimately will lead to a few problems:

            1) higher interest rates; unless
            2) you turn on the printing pressing, effectively devaluing your money
            3) regardless, you will stifle real growth

            There’s a tipping point, and America has little to no experience dealing with being in that situation. Just because we haven’t faced it yet doesn’t mean it isn’t coming.

            Instead, we’re borrowing money without a clear goal or plan as to why. We’re just plugging a hole in the budget with money borrowed from overseas. We’ll pay them interest, and then turn around and continue to have massive trade deficits due to the impacts of foreign investment on exchange rates.

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    I can tell posky headline from a mile away.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Ah, yes, gotta generate at least a story every couple of days to rile up the denizens of the “alternative facts” media ecosystem.

    In the real world, these are nonbinding goals (as was Washington’s legislation), and even the federal government has relatively little control over whether our cars will become electrified, because Europe and China together are forcing the issue. There’s a reason even the automakers really aren’t fighting it, but instead asking governments to help make the transition easier.

    • 0 avatar
      kcflyer

      China gets it. They are bringing online new nuclear power plants several times a year at a growing pace. They also bring online coal power plants almost weekly. So they can make the switch to electric cars in the future with the infrastructure to back it up. Meanwhile here in sleepy joe land we demonize clean, safe nuclear energy, close down coal plants, steal money from taxpayers to subsidize unreliable wind and solar and wonder why we cant keep up with power demands.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      In fairness @dal, wouldn’t a nonbinding goal be the very definition of virtue signaling? If it’s really an issue, put some teeth in it.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        An empty gesture is an empty gesture… and there’s very little that’s emptier than labeling things “virtue signaling.” I don’t care if something is virtue signaling or not.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      A third solid-state battery company announced they were getting ready for production. I think we’ll have all three of these batteries in production by 2025. Once that happens, I don’t think ICE vehicles will survive in the marketplace. They’ll have lost all of their advantages by the time 2030 rolls around. Especially if sodium-ion gains traction. By then the ICE cars will probably have mostly turbo twins and triples with CVTs, so most people definitely won’t want them.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “The coalition of states — most of which don’t have a populace that’s dependent on automotive manufacturing for work”

    Yes, but the elephant in that mix is California, which has a decidedly prominent auto mfr in Tesla.

    Fear of losing jobs in EV mfg is the worst defense I can think of for resisting their manufacture. Any loss of jobs would be small, and besides, since when did the UAW actually care about jobs except for the union bosses?

  • avatar
    ErickKS

    This is offensive and dumb.

    Electrics don’t work for everyone and every situation.

    People living in warm cities, who probably never drive anywhere far anyway, sure, fine (even though taxpayers are paying for their toys with these subsidies).

    People who want a constantly warm car, no charging or planning or worry – we already have that. The idea of taking it away is highly offensive. These clowns will get my no-vote every time.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    Wow, both the article and the comments appear intended to discourage actual discussion of the actual issue.

    Not very good clickbait, at least for me.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Just a serving of red meat. This must be the right wing version of Virtue signaling.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      “Wow, both the article and the comments appear intended to discourage actual discussion of the actual issue.”

      What’s to discuss? Asinine ideas from politicians that want to be important rather than useful?

      Or should we discuss how this is yet another liberal attack on the lower-income classes that these bleeding hearts vow up and down to protect? You think lower-income people and families have the money and resources to buy electric cars?

      This is a lot like the green new deal that wants to ban planes. Insanity from the party that will say anything to get a vote.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “You think lower-income people and families have the money and resources to buy electric cars?”

        They tend to not have the resources to buy any car.

        So what’s your point?

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        When there are used electric cars, they will be a good deal more manageable for lower-income people than today’s cars. Maintenance costs are far less, but even more importantly they should be more reliable for longer and require less downtime (precious days off work) for maintenance and repair. End of life will be more predictable and softer (steadily shrinking battery range rather than a suddenly busted engine or transmission).

        Right now it’s still so early that there are few cheap used electrics out there. But a nonprofit in Seattle is pairing poor people up with used early Leafs, and that is working out really well.

      • 0 avatar

        First off this will get pushed back years if not decades like these things always do (CA tried to ban gas cars back in the early 70’s). Next they are only talking banning the sale of new cars with electric, that means 14 more years of gas cars getting built and put on the roads. It al;so means 14 years of seeing if it;s actually feasible, that’s a pretty long time.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          Nothing gets pushed back. Money to be made now. Biden just finished a virtual tour of Proterra, electric bus company. Did you hear that Harris pushed for electric school buses? The energy secretary Jennifer Granholm is from the board of this company and has $5,000,000 stock investment there. Biden’s infrastructure plan has $45,000,000,000 dedicated to electric school buses. But only less than $200,000,000 for electric cars.
          The rush is on.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            You can’t imagine a better application for electric power than school buses. They return to depot twice a day, so they don’t need huge batteries. Their entire duty cycle is stop and go, so ICE powertrains are highly inefficient. They idle next to lots of kids all the time, so eliminating localized diesel emissions from them is very beneficial for public health. Replacing every school bus in the country with an electric one is really low-hanging fruit.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Don’t worry about those union autoworkers. They can all learn to code or to install all those government subsidized China made solar panels. It’ll be fine.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Not opposed to EVs if battery technology gets better and cheaper and the infrastructure increases. Increased battery charging and increase electric generating capacity would make EVs more feasible along with more affordable EV choices. More turbo 3s and 4s might make EVs more desirable.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    sigh. Just no.

    Signal is the verb. What are they signaling? Virtue.

    “A dozen more states signal virtue by banning vehicles.” English–do you speak it?

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Does one need mastery of English when one has all of the typical right wing dog whistles honed to the right pitch?

      Potskey triggered the expected right wing Pavlovian response.

      • 0 avatar
        Matt Posky

        While I am sure there’s a faction of the populace that loves the idea of conservatives being so taboo that they’re required to speak to each other in code just to exchange ideas, it’s a ridiculous concept to presume everything is a dog whistle. It’s something a simpleton would believe because they’ve seen it parroted online for a few years.

        It’s not the reality.

        Someone can discuss how utterly a stupid a proposal appears to be without having to inject coded language. Any sane person should be able to see that and offer a counter to the argument, rather than try to undermine the entire argument by sharing bargain basement conspiracies they’ve invented.

        This is an article recommending people be critical of the claims issued by the industry and the government because both have a history of lying. As an independent, I don’t believe that’s should be the domain of just one political party.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Looks like I hooked a big fish with my comment. Yeah, dog whistle was the incorrect choice of words since your article was overtly obvious .

        • 0 avatar
          eamiller

          Which part of “virtue signaling” ISN’T coded language? You showed your ass with your clickbait headline, Matt. Don’t try and act like you didn’t play the dogwhistle game when everyone can see it plain as day.

  • avatar

    Liberals are suspiciously silent on the subject.

  • avatar
    dusterdude

    Thumbs down. Let consumers decide level of non ICE vehicles purchased – period .

  • avatar
    conundrum

    If BEVs were actually more green than a Toyota hybrid, I’d grudgingly go along with them. Damned annoying in winter if you like a bit of heat, though.

    To me, EVs seem a way to invent a whole new industry by raping the Earth’s resources in a different way than pumping oil to make more money for the already far too rich. It’s a big rush right now to brainwash the average citizen to go EV, so that their pockets may be suavely emptied by the real monied classes once again in the near future. And we must like it or at least go along with it. Until the next big disaster, whatever that turns out to be. Following any recovery, the whole story gets repeated again.

    Liberals, progressives, socialists, commies, conservatives, fascists, white, black brown or yellow, whatever. The big boys don’t care how we label each other and therefore applaud the ruckuses we have as we engage in a good mouth-frothing fight against each other. Keeps the eyes averted from the stealth of the pocket-emptying class, much like the way a good magician operates. How they laugh their heads off at how easy it is to manipulate the proles! The crazy thing is, there are only a few tens of thousands of them, and billions of regular wage slaves, including your average management classes and government bureaucracy running things for the plutocracy, each striving for a bigger personal plate of beans. It’s all so darned simple to stir people up on the basis of supposed politics and religion, patriotism for one’s country against those idiots over there, so that all the while the masses get to feed the sociopaths at the top while snarling at each other for the equitable division of crumbs. Then we march off to do the “king”‘s bidding when one set of multi-billionaires gets fed up with another and wants to teach them a lesson and seize their treasure.

    Seems to have been that way for thousands of years, when you sit back and take a look. Any history books on the life of the common man? Nah, it’s all pharoahs, emperors, kings and dictators and their hangers-on. Nobody cares what happened to the average human rat. We all get to imagine we were one of the aristos or an intrepid explorer when history is “taught”. To me, that’s about all she wrote.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “If BEVs were actually more green than a Toyota hybrid,”

      They are greener than a toyota hybrid. The technologies behind EVs are changing over time. The problems that impact battery durability/longevity are being solved. There has been progress in moving from lithium-based technology to less impactful chemistries like sodium-ion batteries. Power generation is improving with less and less reliance on fossil power and more wind and solar power along with efficiency from power storage technology.

      The BEV technology we have now isn’t the technology we’ll have in 5 years (solid-state batteries). The BEV technology we have in 10 years (my guess is more sodium-ion than lithium-ion) isn’t the technology we’ll have in 5 years. Toyota’s hybrid technology would probably be the same in ten years or maybe a 10 mpg improvement. BEV technology has a path to improvement that gasoline hybrid technology doesn’t. EV and power generation technology is being driven by advances in material sciences at the nanoscale at a very fast pace. ICE technology is an old technology that is reaching its limits. BEV technology is in its infancy and its potential barely tapped.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “They are greener than a toyota hybrid”

        If this is accurate, then some are and some aren’t.
        evtool.ucsusa.org/

        “Toyota’s hybrid technology would probably be the same in ten years or maybe a 10 mpg improvement.”

        That’s a bit of a conclusion to jump to. Even then an improvement of “only” 10 mpg would make that calculator I posted above an even tighter situation.

        My big question is how can these politicians justify a call to *ban* the sale of a new 2030 66MPG Prius (10 better than today) while stuff like the hulking, mega-battery Hummer EV or I-Pace are a-okay?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Isn’t Toyota working on the solid-state battery technology? If so I would wait for the solid-state battery over the current lithium battery. I am not so opposed to EVs as that I would rather wait for better technology and less expensive EVs with better range and quicker charging times. Toyota usually is better at sorting out the technology and getting more reliability.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “States and some lawmakers hope that Biden’s endorsement of a phase-out date will speed the transition to EVs by users and automakers.”

    Who in the politburo decided there needs to be a transition again?

  • avatar
    trecoolx

    “Virtue Signaling?” I’m surprised there wasn’t a jab at the “woke left.”

    Did one of the Baruth Boys write the headline?

  • avatar
    stuki

    After all, every hour is idiot hour at the dumbhouse.

  • avatar
    craiger

    We were told for decades that if we DON’T ACT NOW! that we would soon “pass the point of no return.” How many of those dates have come and gone? Yet, a sizable number of people still fall for it.

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