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Pete Buttigieg Clashes with Republican Rep Over Biden Admin’s Electric Vehicle Policy

By Jake Beardslee · June 28, 2024

In a recent House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg engaged in spirited exchanges with Republican lawmakers over the Biden administration's electric vehicle (EV) policies.

The hearing focused on the ongoing debate surrounding the government's role in promoting EV adoption and the broader implications for the automotive industry and environment.  Jack Gruber-USA TODAY

Secretary Buttigieg found himself defending the administration's EV initiatives against criticism from Republican representatives.

In an exchange with Rep. Aaron Bean (R-FL), Buttigieg countered concerns about the cost of EV tax rebates by pointing out the substantial subsidies the oil and gas industry has long enjoyed.  Jack Gruber, Jack Gruber / USA TODAY NETWORK

Buttigieg emphasized the potential economic impact of environmental degradation, stating: “Wait until you find out about the economic impact, that some economists have put at $15 million every hour, or every day, or trillions of dollars every year for letting the environmental conditions of this planet to worsen.”  Jack Gruber-USA TODAY

The secretary also clashed with Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), who characterized the EV industry as being in a "tailspin."

Buttigieg swiftly rebutted this claim, describing it as "a bizarre word to use for a growing sector of our economy." He went on to clarify that EV sales are, in fact, increasing year over year.  U.S. House Office of Photography / Wikimedia

Perry's concerns extended to what he perceived as government mandates forcing consumers to purchase EVs.

Buttigieg stated, "There is no mandate," explaining that consumers retain the choice between gas-powered and electric vehicles. He added, "You can purchase a gas car if you want to pay gas prices at the pump. But if you don't, you can purchase an EV."  Jack Gruber-USA TODAY

The hearing touched on several issues in the EV debate, including the role of government incentives, market dynamics, and environmental considerations.

Buttigieg defended the administration's approach as a balanced strategy to support American competitiveness in the EV market, particularly in relation to China's growing presence in the sector.  CHUTTERSNAP / Unsplash

Despite the administration's push for EVs, recent data has raised questions about consumer sentiment.

A McKinsey & Company study released in June 2024 suggested that 46 percent of EV owners in the US are 'very' likely to return to gas-powered vehicles, according to The Daily Mail. The study cited concerns about charging infrastructure, total ownership costs, and range anxiety as primary factors influencing this sentiment.  myenergi / Unsplash

The Biden administration's goals for EV adoption, including the target of having electric and other zero-emissions vehicles make up half of new car and truck sales by 2030, remain a point of contention.

While the administration views these initiatives as crucial for combating climate change and maintaining US automotive leadership, critics argue that the market should dictate the pace of EV adoption.  The White House / Wikimedia