Last week, The Washington Post pointed out one near-fatal flaw to Obama’s plans for subsidizing green energy and electric cars: snowstorms. Last week a snowstorm hit D.C. commuters harder than usual, causing gridlock on the road and dragging a normally 20-minute commute into, in some cases, over six hours as people crowded the roads struggling to get home.
With current technology, electric cars typically have much shorter battery lives, especially in cold weather. In an instance where a regular combustion engine car would keep its occupants safe and warm while idling for hours, an electric car would have left them stranded. In his State of the Union address last week, President Obama expressed his desire to keep the U.S. one step ahead technologically and environmentally by embracing electric vehicles. However, a single snowstorm has shown, once again, that the market has always been and will always be better at spurring innovation and picking product winners and losers than the government could ever be.
To aspire to be environmentally conscience and technologically savvy is a good thing. Our nation produces the best entrepreneurs and innovators in the world. The President is right to inspire these innovators, but he is wrong to tax Americans so heavily to meet government goals that he causes undue strain and unintentional discouragement. In his speech, President Obama’s goals included ideas that may be admirable: 80 percent of America’s electricity from green sources by 2035 and being the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2035. What is wrong is that the President plans to drive these aspirations from Washington through government directives and subsidies.