California’s EV Car Mandate Will Create a 2-Tier Society

August 24, 2022 Updated: August 30, 2022

Commentary

On Aug. 25, the California Air Resources Board issued a mandate banning the use of fossil fuels in all vehicles sold in the state beginning in 2035. Most will be EVs—electric vehicles.

This mandate, acting on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order from 2020, is supposed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and end “climate change,” never defined. As I have noted several times in The Epoch Times, most of the rest of the world hasn’t been inspired to follow California’s lead.

But what the new CARB ruling will do is effectively make California a two-tier society:

The top tier will be those who can afford the new electric vehicles. As The Verge reported on Aug. 24:

“One of the major barriers to mass adoption of electric vehicles is cost. EVs are just way too expensive, with the average price hitting an all-time high earlier this summer of $66,000. That’s disappointing because the auto industry has always promised that prices would come down as EV battery packs became more efficient to manufacture.

“But even more disappointing is the rate that EV prices are increasing as compared to their gas equivalents. According to a recent analysis by car shopping database iSeeCars, electric car prices saw a year-over-year increase of 54.3 percent while gas-powered cars were up just 10.1 percent.”

Ironically, as gas prices have risen, people have switched to EVs, driving up demand—which also drives up prices.

I’ve covered this as well, specifically in my June article “Ukraine War Sabotaging California’s Green Agenda.” I noted green cars require nickel and other minerals now banned or restricted from the boycott of Russia’s economy, limiting the production of new EVs.

It’s Economics 101: Restrict supply and increase demand, and it’s a double whammy increasing prices for any product.

The bottom tier of car owners will be those who can’t afford new EVs, or even EVs a couple of years old. They will be forced to buy much older EVs at high prices, with mechanical problems that will strain family budgets even more.

Or they will be forced to keep old, gas-powered flivvers running much longer than expected. As in communist Cuba before dictator Raul Castro, according to travel company Discover Corps, in 2016 “relaxed the need for permission to buy foreign cars and finally lifted the ban on importing American cars and parts. This led to an influx of brand-new cars onto Cuba’s roads.”

However, “the state still has a monopoly on Cuban car sales, which means prices are high,” much as the new California EV mandate will give the state government an effective monopoly control of the industry.

Today, “a Peugeot 508, which typically retails at $29,000, costs a whopping $262,000 in Cuba. With the average Cuban citizen earning around $20 a month, it is unlikely that new imported cars are going to be part of a buying boom.”

Communist Cuba: the California ideal!

After 2035 in California, it won’t be that bad—at first. Most older cars will still be gas powered. Prices will rise, marginally. People will keep them running, as in Cuba, using baling wire if they have to.

Sales of car alarms and other anti-theft devices will soar, as the value of the older cars rises, and parts are needed to keep them going.

According to The New York Times: “At least 12 other states could potentially adopt the new California zero-emissions vehicle mandate relatively soon; another five states, which follow California’s broader vehicle pollution reduction program, are expected to adopt the rule in a year or so. If those states follow through, the restrictions on gasoline-vehicle sales would apply to about one-third of the United States’ auto market.”

That still would leave two-thirds of the states with no, or lesser, EV edicts. But many of those states might not “follow through.” Unlike California, which is a one-party state, even some liberal states have fairly strong Republican opposition parties, including New York and Illinois.

Michigan, my home state, has a Democratic governor facing a tough re-election campaign this November, and the Legislature is currently Republican. It’s also unlikely the Auto State would do much to cripple its main industry.

There probably will be a national attempt by a Republican administration to ban California’s 100 percent EV edict, and the similar laws possibly enacted in other states. But most of the rest of America already thinks California is a joke, and in 2035, they will be laughing even louder.

Finally, it’s ironic a state government obsessed with ending inequality and even imposing socialist “equity” is going to erect a two-tiered class society. The top tier will be tooling around the state in shiny new Teslas, while the bottom tier patches together 25-year-old Corollas, or squeezes into creaky, crowded, broken-down buses—electric, of course.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

John Seiler
John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. He has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at JohnSeiler.Substack.com