Flemming: Driving 10% less by 2050 has hefty price tag and open questions

Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development

Our policy makers are betting that an EV technology that is ripe with fire hazards and reduced effectiveness in cold weather will carry the day. If this does not happen quickly enough, a large portion of the public may only be able to use public transport.

By David Flemming

The Sept. 29 presentation David Hill (of the Energy Futures Group) gave to the Climate Council Cross-Sector Mitigation Subcommittee was quite informative. It outlined the 17 goals the group had recommended for meeting the GWSA’s requirements, including one about reducing car miles driven.

David Flemming, policy analyst at the Ethan Allen Institute

The memo reads: “A reduction in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) is a reduction in overall demand in the transportation sector, by reducing the need for individual vehicle trips, often through investments in public transit and land use policies. In the mitigation scenario, VMT across all vehicle classes and technologies is reduced 10% by 2050. A reduction of VMT by 10% is assumed to be achievable for $250 million/year.”

Policy modelers will prioritize a reduction in vehicle miles driven past 2035 because they know carbon vehicles purchased before 2035 will still be driven for a decade or more, suggesting a need to reduce this mileage.

I’d be curious to know what fraction of this 10% reduction in VMT would come from better “land use policies” and what fraction from funding public transit. I’d hazard to guess that most of it would have to be spent on public transit to have a remote chance of reaching that benchmark. Since government policies can only encourage private development in certain spaces, not mandate exactly how it must be done, Vermont bureaucrats may find that using “land use policies” to change the distances between homes and schools/work/entertainment could prove much difficult than they had anticipated. Therefore, public transport could have to take on a larger role in meeting the VMT goal. But that conflicts with the possibility that Vermonters will achieve a higher living standard in the decades to come.

At one time, higher living standards was the one consensus view across the American political system — either through a general strategy of lower taxation (GOP) or higher spending to improve living standards (Democrats). Now that climate has become prioritized, however, that supreme goal of higher living standards can be seen as conflicting with the primary goal of reducing emissions for climate advocates. These standards could fall as private transportation becomes artificially difficult to acquire.

The simple fact is, human beings prefer private transport to public. As living standards rise, there is more demand for private vehicles. Currently, the leading carbon vehicle replacement candidate is the electric vehicle, but only time will tell if EVs can be built cost-effectively to meet demand, and if an economy can become dependent for all its needs on an electric grid that is subject to perverse incentives. Our policy makers are betting that an EV technology that is ripe with fire hazards and reduced effectiveness in cold weather will carry the day. If this does not happen quickly enough, a large portion of the public may only be able to use public transport, since private transport is financially out of reach. And this may make rural Vermont impossible to live in, without access to any kind of transportation. Let’s hope that distinct possibility fails to materialize.

To watch the Vermont Climate Council Cross-Sector Mitigation Subcommittee meeting, click here.

David Flemming is a policy analyst for the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development

7 thoughts on “Flemming: Driving 10% less by 2050 has hefty price tag and open questions

  1. Nobody seems to care where this massive new electricity will be produced.
    Simpletons think electricity is just there waiiting- at the outlet. plug in!!

  2. This Lithium battery farce will have a bad ending! Just saw this. A nationwide surge of crooks stealing Catalytic Converters (another Greenie fiasco). Can you imagine the crime in VT – when VT MANDATES ALL cars EV with Lithium batteries in 2035? WHY steal a catalytic converter, when you can steal a battery that may cost $10,000 to $15,00 to replace! Do the math! VT touts all these $22 an hour jobs available. That equals $44,000 a year. WHY WORK 52 weeks – If you can just steal FIVE lithium bateries, each taking MAYBE 2 minutes (10 minutes total)…you can make $60,000 a year 🙂 THINK! A converter is nothing in value, compared to a $$$ lithium battery – and WAIT till car insurance companies DOUBLE or TRIPLE your insurance bill to cover stolen lithium batteries they insured? VT is infested with real dopes :)….Read:

    “Police around the country are using gumshoe detective work to break up sophisticated rings that steal catalytic converters, though many fear that they aren’t making a dent in a crime wave triggered by pricey precious metals.

    Catalytic converters, cylindrical hunks of metal within the exhaust system of most cars and trucks, transform harmful gases into less-harmful ones using precious metals including rhodium, palladium and platinum. Some vehicles, such as Toyota Prius models, large pickups and delivery trucks, are often targeted by thieves because their catalytic converters contain a lot of the metals. Criminals use high-speed jacks and battery-operated saws to steal the devices in less than a minute, according to police.”

  3. One person equals one car is a “roadmap” for alienation from Nature and people, status-mongering, waste of resources, cortisol poisoning, obesity, and further destruction of the Common Green. Just look around.

  4. Exactly true Jeff, the bozo warming tards who whine about the oil running out never
    checked to see if all the minerals needed for lithium batteries was sustainable.
    Low and behold they’re NOT and they will will get more and more expensive as they run out. A full size towing pickup replacement battery now cost $30,000.. Who in the heck can afford that ever 6 years if your actually towing as it wears out quicker from that and from being exposed to a cold climate.

    • Take heart, DBean….common sense, integrity and American values are swinging the pendulm now. This election is the start. But I doubt VT will change….the propaganda is too thickly engrained into the populus (and starts from age 4 on). …VT just ain’t that bright. But TNR is a shining beacon and I bet it is gaining viewer steam, So REJOICE at this news….CNN is collapsing before our eyes….and Twitter is finally exposed for what it was….a “Brown Shirt Propaganda Enforcer” for the Democrats:

      “Chris Licht (new CNN President), remains committed to making the once-important news network a functional news network again rather than a cesspool of mostly unwatched leftist opinion. As such, he needs to do what Musk is gearing up to do and fire a bunch of woke employees.”

      we’re winning, slowly!

  5. Don’t worry. EV’s are in serious trouble now :)….Liberalism = Insanity. First, they make state laws mandating all will drive EV’s by 2035. THEN, they refuse to admit there is not enough Lithium around to make anywhere near enough batteries! Then, we see lithium batteries are prone to deadly fires. Then, EV owners now find that when they need a replacement lithium battery..it can cost upwards of $20,000! And, the Coup-de-Grace…news today….The EU Greenie insane ones, may seek to restrict LITHIUM – because it may harm women’s fertility! I kid you not.. Soon enough scummy lawyers will filing multi billion $ lawuits against all EV’s makers with lithium batteries…wait and see 🙂

    “A European Union proposal to regulate the production and use of lithium is drawing concern that it could inhibit the development of supply chains for battery and create obstacles to the bloc’s climate and energy goals.
    The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, is reviewing the toxicity of lithium salts—a key material in the production of batteries—and their potential to affect fertility in women….”

    • It’s not only the lack of lithium and rare earths, it’s also the lack of infrastructure necessary to recharge those continuously more expensive batteries.

      An analogy would be automobiles immediately replacing the horse without any paved roads or gas stations available. Couldn’t work.

      A prime example of government meddling in the marketplace.

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