Opinion: Political Stunts Remain as Tiresome as Ever
Earlier this week, we covered legislation introduced in Wyoming that would ban the sale of EVs in that state.
The initial reaction to the proposal, at least based on what I saw on social media, seemed to suggest that Wyoming pols were acting protective of the state's gas and oil industry. Later, as Matt Posky pointed out in his piece, we found out that the bill's sponsors were making a point -- they were arguing that it's dumb when other states attempt to ban the sale of new internal-combustion engines by a certain year.
Now, to be clear, you can make a reasonable philosophical argument that states shouldn't be banning propulsion types -- that the free market and consumer choice should win out. You can also make an argument that ICE bans are well-intended and states should be able to ban things that contribute to harming their citizens -- in this case, via pollution -- but the logistics of these particular bans aren't realistic. EVs/EV infrastructure won't be ready in time, how does the state handle it when people buy ICE vehicles in states where there is no ban and then move in, and so on and so forth.
So if you want to make reasonable arguments against ICE bans, go for it. It's a free country. You're allowed to make these arguments.
What gets my goat is that Wyoming politicians are essentially making a trolling argument to tweak OTHER states, thus wasting time just to make a point. Couldn't they just troll on Twitter instead of drawing up legislation?
I think this speaks to a larger trend I've seen with EVs, and to a lesser extent the proposed ICE bans, going at least as far back as the Chevrolet Volt being used as a political football more than a decade ago. Politicians on both sides of the aisle seem to care less about the environment and the safety of their constituents and free markets/consumer choice and more about getting attention and scoring political points.
That's not to say the proposed ICE bans are necessarily insincere (this particular piece of legislation does seem to be, at least by the admission of the legislators), but I've been wondering lately if they were proposed because it sounds good to say "hey we're going to ban something that pollutes and harms our citizens" without spending much time thinking about the possible difficulties of implementation.
I don't know where I stand on the ICE bans that we've covered here -- in general, I am in favor of regulating things that harm the environment we all share, but I also sometimes find bans to be overreach (it's case by case), and I also don't know if the specifics of the most of these proposed bans are even realistic, given the state of EV technology and infrastructure.
What I do know is that I get annoyed by political stunts whether they come from the right or left or center. Maybe I sound naive, but I would rather that my politicians be sincere about the arguments they make -- even if they're bad arguments and/or I disagree.
I haven't even touched on how T he Washington Post pointed out that Wyoming is home to a lot of resources that would be used in EV production -- so an EV ban would possibly actually hurt the state.
That's because, again, this legislation isn't sincere.
And I have a sincere problem with that sort of trolling.
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Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.
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