Car dealers urge Biden to slam the brakes on EV regulations

(The Center Square) – Concern among the nation’s car dealerships about electric vehicle oversupply spawned a second letter to the Biden administration this week urging him to ‘slam the brakes’ on pending transition mandates.

In November, Mickey Anderson – who owns Baxter Auto Group based in Omaha, Nebraska – spearheaded the effort that drew signatures from nearly 5,000 dealers across the country pushing the president to help them slow the influx of EVs on their lots amid consumer anxiety about making the switch.

With no response in sight, Anderson told The Center Square on Thursday he sent the second letter telling the president he should pause the EV mandate on behalf of their customers until the battery supply chain develops outside of China’s control and the charging infrastructure can support the significant increase in supply.

Dealers also suggest waiting for the American consumer to make the choice to buy an electric vehicle, “confident that they are affordable and won’t strand them because of a lack of charging stations.”

“It is uncontestable” the letter says, “that the combination of fewer tax incentives, a woefully inadequate charging infrastructure, and insufficient consumer demand makes the proposed electric vehicle mandate completely unrealistic.”

Anderson said to The Center Square in an email that dealers are weeks away from a government regulation that will force an extreme shift to battery electric vehicles.

“This will dramatically limit the American consumers’ right to choose a vehicle that meets their needs,” he said.

“Because this mandate is being done by federal bureaucrats at the EPA, and not by Congress, most Americans have no idea what they are about to lose,” he added.

Anderson said since the first letter, the evidence continues to mount that these regulations go too far too soon.

“Every day seems to bring new headlines about auto companies cutting electric vehicle production because of softening demand, rental car companies divesting of EVs, and motorists stranded because they are unable to charge their EVs in the cold,” he said.

“As auto dealers, we welcome a conversation to share what we are hearing from customers regarding battery electric vehicles along with the challenges of the proposed regulations,” he added.

With the finalization of the proposed regulations looming, the letter asks the administration to consider that dwindling tax credits will depress demand in 2024 and beyond as fewer vehicles qualify.

This is because the new rules disqualify vehicles heavily reliant on components and minerals from China, which currently dominate the battery supply chain.

Range anxiety continues to dissuade consumers from purchasing EVs. Despite the allocation of $7.5 billion two years ago to build public EV charging stations, just three have been opened to date.

Based on government estimates, 2.8 million public chargers will be needed by 2032, but the current count is only 170,000. This implies the need for 800 new chargers per day for the next nine years and is clearly not in the realm of possibility, Anderson said.

Anderson said just 8% of vehicles sold in 2023 were EVs. The proposed regulations would require 60% of vehicles sold in 2030 to be battery electric – and two out of every three by 2032. Electric vehicle sales are not remotely on trend to meet those requirements. Indeed, the day supply of EVs on dealer lots today is nearly twice the supply of conventional vehicles, he said.

Since The Center Square’s recent reporting on the first letter, the number of Pennsylvania dealerships who signed on increased from 85 to 118.

“Mr. President,” the letter ends, “we share your belief in an electric vehicle future. We only ask that you not accelerate into that future before the road is ready.”

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