By on December 8, 2021

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has responded to criticisms Elon Musk has made about the Biden administration’s plan for electric vehicle subsidies.

The Tesla CEO believes the Obama-era EV tax credits were more than sufficient, with his own company serving as physical proof, and suggested the entire Build Back Better Act be tossed into the toilet. But Secretary Buttigieg said it was a necessary item if the United States hoped to advance electrification, swiftly transition away from combustion vehicles, and escape the perils of climate change (formerly known as global warming). 

While Tesla would indeed be eligible for the reinstated $7,500 EV tax credit scheme, which would no longer include a vehicle cap for manufacturers, Musk said the plan had already had its day.

“Going back to the infrastructure bill, there’s this idea that Tesla always gets subsidies, but it’s important to note that the vehicle purchase tax credit that $7,500, Tesla stop getting that like 2 years ago,” Musk explained during The Wall Street Journal’s CEO conference held on Tuesday. “Everyone else, except for GM, still get the federal tax credit. So all of our sales from this year and last year had nothing to do with the tax credit because we were no longer eligible because we made so many electric cars. Tesla has made roughly two-thirds of all the electric cars in the United States. I am not sure if most people are aware of that. We don’t need the $7,500 tax credit. I would say … can the whole bill. Don’t pass it, that’s my recommendation.”

However, the bill isn’t limited to rebooting President Obama’s EV tax credit plan. The proposed Build Back Better legislation is ridiculously long and staggeringly broad, setting aside funding for all sorts of government initiatives. Several of those are tied directly to the energy and automotive sectors, with a provision to set aside $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging that appears to serve both.

Tesla already has a sizable proprietary charging network and has begun opening up to the general public. It obviously isn’t interested in any government-funded competition, with its CEO suggesting it’s totally unnecessary to fund EV charging when gas stations don’t receive help. But the elephant in the room is how the Biden administration opted to give preferential treatment to unionized production. American automakers that source their workforce from union labor would eligible for another $4,500 in incentives per car (for a possible EV tax credit of $12,500). However, Tesla’s aversion to collective bargaining keeps that option off the table.

“Of course we believe in the benefits of union jobs,” Buttigieg told The Wall Street Journal as part of his rebuttal. “These are things that don’t happen on their own.”

The transportation secretary suggested that tying funding to unions was one way to ensure that the president’s climate goals would be conducted in a matter that is equitable and benefits U.S. workers.

“We think it’s very important to fund EV charging stations and to also make sure what’s in the next Build Back Better Act to buy down the price of electric vehicles,” Buttigieg said. “And let me explain why. Look, the market is going electric already. That’s going to happen. The automotive sector is already headed that way and where not here to cause that technological adoption to happen.”

“We’re here because there are three things that will not happen happen on their own: One, for it to happen quickly enough to meet our climate challenges. Two, for it to happen in equitable terms that will actually reach the Americans who stand — theoretically — to benefit the most from EVs. Low income, urban Americans … rural drivers. But they only capture those benefits if they can afford to buy and EV in the first place. And third, the importance of making sure that this electric vehicle revolution is made in America and creating good paying jobs.”

Buttigieg suggested that, by tacking on a $12,500 tax credit to a hypothetical $40,000 “good quality electric truck,” the government would effectively make it possible for millions of Americans to get in on the “electric revolution” that would not have otherwise been able. Customers wouldn’t longer need to wait for economies of scale to gradually lower the price of EVs over the next decade and rural drivers could begin enjoying fuel savings transitioning away from gasoline or diesel-powered cars immediately, he added.

“We think this is incredibly important and it’s certainly a very, very important part of meeting our climate commitments and climate responsibilities as a country.”

[Image: Michael F. Hiatt/Shutterstock]

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68 Comments on “Buttigieg Issues Rebuttal to Elon Musk Regarding EV Subsidies...”


  • avatar
    kcflyer

    This from the mental giant that says overpasses are racist. Never mind that busses and trucks were not allowed by law on parkways at the time the “racist because it was too low for busses” overpasses were built. I guess next to this idiot sleepy joe looks almost average.

    • 0 avatar
      BSttac

      This! Could not have said it better

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “I guess next to this idiot sleepy joe looks almost average.”

      Nailed it.

      The level of pandering is obscene and beyond objectionable.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      “This from the mental giant that says overpasses are racist. Never mind that busses and trucks were not allowed by law on parkways at the time the “racist because it was too low for busses” overpasses were built. I guess next to this idiot sleepy joe looks almost average.”

      Probably the best post on TTAC so far this year. Mayor Petey is a pandering opportunist and a liar. Which is par for the course for this installed administration.

      This has nothing to do with (non) green EVs or the installed administration’s virtue signaling to appear like they care about the environment.

      If this was in any way related to the environment, they wouldn’t punish non-union shops. But it’s not about the environment. Nothing the libs do in the name of “the environment” has anything to do with the environment. This is nothing more than an obvious attempt to funnel money to unions. Its buying votes.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I wish Stalin was his boss

    • 0 avatar
      wolfwagen

      Overpasses are racist, math is racist, spelling is racist, history is racist, X is Racist, Y is Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Racist, Have we maxed out out the racist card yet? Which card to use next, Sexist? LGBTQ phobic?
      BTW this guy couldn’t get potholes filled when he was mayor so of course make him Secretary of Transportation. Whats next the head of Vistra Energy as head of the EPA?

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        My wish is that all normal people just left those places and let only these BLM, ANTI-FA guys live there. Lets see how long they will last. They are parasites, without skills or knowledge. Leaches on
        the American body. Americans work hard. These idiots want to enslave hard working Americans to serve them. And media should be left there too

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        @wolfwagen; What he was saying was that essentially highways and other infrastructure has been used to reinforce racism. Freeways were built through minority neighborhoods.

        The racist bridge story comes from people that worked for highway designer Robert Moses. Moses was a known racist. According to Moses associate Sidney M. Shapiro, the bridges on the Southern State Parkway on Long Island were designed to be low in order to prevent buses carrying the poor from using it to reach Jones Beach.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Are there more than two sources on such claims about Moses? If not, one should remain skeptic.

          ““Shapiro” was Sidney M. Shapiro, a close Moses associate and former chief engineer and general manager of the Long Island State Park Commission. He was a major source for Caro. The source notes say that Shapiro granted 100 hours of interviews with Caro, with the understanding that nothing could be used unless he died — and he passed away in 1972, two years before publication.

          In the endnotes, Shapiro is listed as the only source for the order to keep the bridges of the parkways low. Shapiro, along with Paul Kern, a law secretary at City Hall under Mayor Fiorella LaGuardia, are listed as sources for Moses believing Black Americans were “dirty.” Kern and Paul Windels, LaGuardia’s corporation counsel, are the sources for the details on the bus permits and pool temperature.”

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/11/10/robert-moses-saga-racist-parkway-bridges/

          “Freeways were built through minority neighborhoods.”

          That may very well be true, but on the same token the budget and engineering challenges may have dictated as such. The other point to note is who benefited from the sale of the real estate? Since they would be well compensated in cash by the NYDOT, any landlord would have done well along with any private holders. So in those neighborhoods, how many properties were not privately owned and who were the landlords?

          Follow the money.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            “Are there more than two sources on such claims about Moses? If not, one should remain skeptic.”

            I agree. I was skeptical. We have a lot of low bridges in Massachusetts along the Charles River and there wasn’t a racist motivation for those bridges. But, given Moses attitudes and there not really being another good reason for them being so low, I tend to believe. Regardless, I was mainly trying to give a bit of context to the “racist bridge” remark. When I saw that, I was wondering how a bridge could be racist and decided to research it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            When I first read the remarks, I had similar thoughts to most. Lou posted that WaPo link and I have to give them credit for their balanced analysis (thought the piece is on the bio author Robert Caro not Robert Moses or the engineering work itself).

        • 0 avatar
          kcflyer

          Except it’s all debunked. This was a PARKWAY. Parkways were off limits to trucks and buses by law. So why would Moses or any other responsible party spend big bucks to make the overpasses higher than they needed to be. This was never about racism, any time a liberal shouts racism it’s a sure bet they are just pushing an agenda. (or just stupid) Sadly this nonsense has been going full steam since Obama started with his “if I had a son” garbage. People have been and still are racist. Sad but true. Everyone should work to be better than their past, their influences and their human nature. But Nations, inanimate objects, etc are not racist any more than they are good. Nations are merely a reflection of the citizens that make them up. I’m proud to call myself an American. Despite the flawed people who have and still do make it up. We are still a beacon the world over. The hacks pushing us apart or who honestly believe it is a racist country should have the courage of their convictions and take the next thing smoking to Venezuela.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      Lots of highways here in Chicago. In the better parts of town they pass under the surface streets. I’m not sure if it means anything. I haven’t done any real research on the topic. Nor do I plan on researching the topic.
      But I do know Elon Musk’s companies have gotten billions of $$ in Tax breaks and subsidies. He should STFU.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      Lots of highways here in Chicago. In the better parts of town they pass under the surface streets. I’m not sure if it means anything. I haven’t done any real research on the topic. Nor do I plan on researching the topic.
      But I do know Elon Musk’s companies have gotten billions of $$ in Tax breaks and subsidies. He should STFU.

    • 0 avatar
      notinuse

      covfefe

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Uncle Joe should explain why the existing 2009 incentives that help everyone today (except Tesla and GM) are insufficient.

    “creating good paying jobs” = code for “union”, as though the transplants are impoverishing their slave laborers, who – coincidentally – refuse to be unionized.

    Maybe we should just copy-paste the comments from the last thread on this subject, to here.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Lord Musk, the voice of reason. He should feel privileged Secy Buttwipe took the time away from breast feeding to respond to him.

    ““And let me explain why. Look, the market is going electric already. That’s going to happen. The automotive sector is already headed that way and where not here to cause that technological adoption to happen.””

    “You can get much further with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone”

    -Al Capone.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    “The transportation secretary suggested that tying funding to unions was one way to ensure that the president’s climate goals would be conducted in a matter that is equitable and benefits U.S. workers.”

    Laudable goal, and I’m sure the idea here is that since union labor = U.S. – sourced labor, that’s why the union proviso is there. But there are better ways of achieving it than simply tying this to unionized workers. How about tying it to something like domestic content? There are a LOT of non-unionized “shops” in auto manufacturing – why not give them the benefit as well? I mean, an automaking paycheck is an automaking paycheck, whether it’s a union shop or not. I don’t see the difference.

    Otherwise, the opposition to the bill just seizes on this as a “payoff to unions” (and they aren’t far off), and it fails.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @FreedMike – I agree that tax rebates etc. should be tied to domestic content. I see why this administration has thrown in the “union” stipulation. Unions have been loosing membership in the USA for decades. This should help membership build by steering cash to union shops. If the current administration had greater margins in the Senate and House they could have been more narrowly focused. They have to appeal to centrists, the “conservative” liberal wing and the “progressives”. I’m betting that this was to appease progressives.

      • 0 avatar
        aja8888

        “Steering cash into union shops” means the companies will profit. Remember, EV’s replace ICE cars so there is no perceived net increase in union members. Production should pretty much be a wash. And I’ll bet a lot of domestic EV’s are made in Mexico.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          In theory, union workers make more than non union workers, so maybe those union shops profit less.

          Thus, the opposition to the bill.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @aja8888 – good point. In theory, if incentives are directed to unionized companies, more people will buy from them and could result in more production. We’ve seen many articles where EV’s are expected to cause a drop in workforce even if sales are the same.

        • 0 avatar
          dantes_inferno

          > And I’ll bet a lot of domestic EV’s are made in Mexico.

          That comment should be posted prominently on billboards EVERYWHERE to give the general public a dose of reality. Well done, sir!

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Well, if the EVS are made outside the U.S., then they don’t (and shouldn’t) qualify for the tax credit.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      Congratulations for the first adult commentary. That would be you are not grandstanding, not indulging in hyperbole, and not using derisive name calling. Thank you.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      This is a pretty good solution. But then he’d have to call it equal instead of equitable.

  • avatar
    Undead Zed

    I can’t wait for the launch of Posky’s new blog, The Truth About Musk.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    A gay Democrat talking about EVs and Elon Musk? The usual Caucasian, homophobic, anti-climate change, anti-EV, single-issue, Republican voting Trump supporters must be waiting until they’ve finished their animal protein, high carbohydrate, gluten-inclusive evening meals before they leave their comments. Usually something like this goes for at least 100 comments. I mean, c’mon man!

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      There was the low brow comment about “low overpasses are racist”.

      I read up on where Buttigieg came up with that remark. It’s an interesting read.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/11/10/robert-moses-saga-racist-parkway-bridges/

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Lou, really? Reading sources? Haven’t you figured out by now that the point is to listen to wildly-out-of-context Fox News segments and then wallow around feeling sorry for yourself about how everyone wants to call you racist? Get with the program, man…

        • 0 avatar
          Daniel J

          dal,

          And CNN, NYT, NPR, and any left wing rag doesn’t have wildly out of context segments or articles? Please.

          I’m actually very familiar with the “racists” overpass articles. I’ve also read many counter argument pieces showing data that most of these were based on “class”, not race. And most were unintentional consequences of trying to improve road infrastructure.

          Many of the articles talk about the “rich white suburbans” who need city access for work or pleasure. The problem is, if it wasn’t for those rich white suburbanites bringing money into the city, some city’s simply would be falling apart.

          And yes, most left wing rags and media call anyone racist, whether on the left or right, if someone disagrees with their agenda.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            We’ve wrecked our cities to make access for suburbanites easy. If we had preserved our city streets instead of bulldozing them for freeways, they’d be far nicer places to be, and many of the rich people would live in the city like they do everywhere else in the world. You can still see this in parts of coastal cities that weren’t torn apart to put freeways through and to allow the cars from freeways to zoom around at 40 mph.

            And, as for racism in transportation planning, the overpass thing is actually one of the weaker examples. In most cities in the US, you can find at least one freeway segment that was built right over the heart of a historic black neighborhood, for the express purpose of displacing the residents and making them move elsewhere. That’s real highway racism.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Racism versus classism. A debate that has largely been hidden in the USA. The American ‘ruling elite’ have long used racism to disguise the class structure that exists in the USA. By pointing at foreigners/illegal immigrants/or African-Americans as a threat to their jobs/lifestyle the ruling elite has been able to keep the Caucasian working/underclass under control and averted their gaze from those who are actually ‘oppressing’ them.

            Much like the Christmas Truce of WWI. The aristocrats who controlled the armies on both sides of the Western Front were afraid that if the working class troops got together they would stop fighting and turn on their rulers/officers.

          • 0 avatar
            C5 is Alive

            Like it or not, history demonstrates that civilization requires an underclass, and America functions best when its leaders promote the greater good to the benefit of the better many.

            Witness now the chaos throughout this dying nation as the poor and unwashed rabble are increasingly subsidized and emboldened, rather than encouraged to reach for the spoils of Capitalism themselves through hard work and sound morals.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        “ There was the low brow comment about “low overpasses are racist”.

        So simply quoting the fool is now low brow? Wow you are sensitive.

        And nice article. The Washington Post has always been a neutral source and never has any bias. It is funny though that at the end your “source” doesn’t come to any concrete conclusion:

        “ Obviously this cannot be easily resolved. Caro quotes one of Moses’s top aides as saying the height of the bridges was done for racist reasons, but increasingly that story has been questioned as not credible.“

        And then there is Kessler himself who, comically, has been proven wrong time and time again after supposedly “fact checking” something. It’s pretty bad when even a serial liar can’t bring himself to confirm Mayor Paternity Leave’s inflammatory and completely false claim (that overpasses are racist).

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Who knew WaPo could be subjective?

        “The Bottom Line
        Obviously this cannot be easily resolved. Caro quotes one of Moses’s top aides as saying the height of the bridges was done for racist reasons, but increasingly that story has been questioned as not credible. Buttigieg should tailor his remarks to reflect what is historically unimpeachable — and we should be more careful to double-check on the latest views of historians. Even a Pulitzer Prize-winning book is not always the last word on a subject.”

        I’ll also point out the biography’s author, Robert Caro, used data *he and his wife* collected as part of his arguments about Robert Moses. WaPo doesn’t specify if the data *they* collected was more than one day but the author’s data is not a strong data point because of the Caro’s bias *as the author making the arguments*. Caro needed to cite additional data sources to reinforce his own observations.

        The Secy’s ignorance in his own “brownie points” remarks reflects that of the overall administration and I applaud WaPo for retaining accountability for it here.

  • avatar
    mcs

    Here are some examples to where the subsidy money should be going instead of subsidizing products that have waiting lists.

    This is the kind of basic research that will lead to far more demand than vehicle subsidies. Increase product demand by improving it. Solve the issues.

    https://www.anl.gov/access/research/projects/extreme-fast-charge
    https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1149/1945-7111/ac2a7f

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    This clown couldn’t run a lemonade stand. Nothing better can be said.

  • avatar
    marc

    “mental giant”
    “idiot sleepy joe”
    “Secy Buttwipe took the time away from breast feeding”

    Nice to see TTAC moderating at its finest.
    The degeneration of this site continues.
    Time to bring back Bertel. /s

    • 0 avatar
      randy in rocklin

      Actually accurately describes the freeking fools!

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      The redmeats are hungry. And hate progress. Their comments are pure entertainment for me.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false” – CIA Director William J. Casey to President Reagan, 1981.

        Congrats on proving his point.

        Deep dive thoughts on the overall subject:

        https://www.quora.com/Did-CIA-Director-William-Casey-really-say-Well-know-our-disinformation-program-is-complete-when-everything-the-American-public-believes-is-false

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      I don’t see anything there that merits moderation – insulting the intelligence of our political leaders has been a national pastime since at least John Adams.

      Personally, I don’t come across comedy much better than a bunch of supporters of an administration that put a guy who got a D in ‘Meats’ at Texas A&M in charge of America’s nuclear stockpile denigrating the intelligence of the actual, literal Rhodes Scholar leading the DOT.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “Rhodes Scholar”

        This has become meaningless, merely summer camp for the those being evaluated by the Big Club We Ain’t In. Also the argument would hold more weight if former Secy/Gov (and general jackass) Perry was Secy Buttigieg’s predecessor. If I were to say, “Secy of State Blinken is pretty fricking awful but former Secy of Veteran’s Affairs Robert Wilkie was such an awesome pick” well it would be a bit apples and oranges wouldn’t it?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      @mcs:

      I guess there are people out there who resent being reminded by the people who still endure bigotry that it never went away.

    • 0 avatar
      MR2turbo4evr

      I keep reading his name as “Butt-Krieg”. “Krieg” means “War” in German. Making war with the butt. Unnerving but very fitting.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Are you proud of your role in this ostensible degeneration?

  • avatar
    Michael S6

    How ironic that Biden wants to give EV tax subsidies to the UAW that produces the most gas guzzling vehicles on the planet. The big three stopped producing cars and successfully promoted full size trucks and Suv for commuting. The EPA fuel economy goals are a joke given different standards for different vehicle classes and our overall fuel economy average has been a flat line by the Big 3 dinosaurs.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel J

      I actually agree with FreedMike on this, shockingly. The subsidies should be given based on content. The whole UAW target is just pandering at it’s finest. Is Biden worried that non-union workers are illegal? Cars made in Mexico or Canada? Well that is XYZ-phobic man!

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Uh…the UAW doesn’t decide what the D3 builds, last I checked…

  • avatar
    lostindecoland

    Sounds like Musk is worried about Lucid Air.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Hardly.

      Mr Musk is supporting the status quo, in which Tesla vehicles *no longer* receive incentives, but everyone else does (except GM, since they also exhausted theirs).

      As for Lucid, without vertical integration of battery production they won’t be a threat to anybody.

  • avatar
    lostindecoland

    Sounds like Musk is worried about Lucid Air.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    If you clowns really don’t have anything better to do than make fun of the Secretary’s name, at least get it right. It’s a Maltese spelling variant of the Arabic Abu Dajaj, meaning “lord of chickens.” There’s way better jokes in that than the lowest-common-denominator sixth-grade taunts you all are making.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      There is also a crude joke in there as well which I shall not name. Though on the subject of the sixth-grade hijinks:

      “this is from Understanding Literacy & Numeracy

      level 4/5 is the ability to read complex information and glean information from it, or in numeracy, the ability to do algebra and above. You will note that only about 1 in 10 function at this level. The vast majority function at about 6th to 8th grade competency.

      Wake up and smell the trash.

      Standard English has changed 12 times just this century. This is more than once per decade, and is currently being replaced by Simplified English and Simplified Technical English ASD-STE100. The reason being that the functional level of literacy has required being so. The Simplified English is about a 1,000 word vocabulary, about the same as my Border Collie.”

      https://www.quora.com/Did-CIA-Director-William-Casey-really-say-Well-know-our-disinformation-program-is-complete-when-everything-the-American-public-believes-is-false

  • avatar
    MitchConner

    That dope is the Democratic Party at its worst. Seems like he got his job because he checked the sexual orientation box — which is a really stupid reason to hire somebody. Then again, Joe said he was going to do stuff like that — and he’s about as sharp as a blob fish.

    Thanks Biden voters. You should be so proud of yourselves.

  • avatar
    DRdR

    Must be the redesigned Toro with the new 1.3 turbo 170hp engine. Strada would be laughable small for the NA market.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “escape the perils of climate change (formerly known as global warming).”

    Its name should be changed to a symbol and be referred to as the “unprovable hoax formerly known as global warming”.

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