John Klar: Will Vermont’s progressives ban gas-powered cars?

Alas, Vermont’s progressives were snoozing and missed the chance to be the nation’s “first” to ban sales of gas-powered vehicles — California announced such a ban last year, effective in 2035. Massachusetts also beat Vermont in banning new car sales. Even New Jersey is ahead of Vermont in this fantastical folly, which is a perfect example of impossible utopian goals being legislated by out-of-touch bureaucrats with no concept of constitutional or other limits on their seemingly infinite power.

John Klar

In its push to ape California Gov. Gavin Newsom, New Jersey is also paralleling Vermont’s unconstitutional Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA). A New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection report lists actions required to meet a 2006 legislative mandate that calls for reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent compared to 2006 levels.

“The target for that is 2050. … And because of the large amount of emissions generated by passenger vehicles, this means that 100 percent of new vehicle sales in New Jersey will need to be electric by 2035 if the 2050 emissions reduction target is to be met,” the report concludes.

These carte blanche “legislative mandates” are the new tool to hyper-expand government and get citizens and their complaints out of the way of “saving” the planet — even though electric vehicles and solar panels are actually accelerating environmental degradation and cannot possibly solve the consumption problem. It is just more manufacturing and pollution repackaged in an ideological boondoggle that makes billions of dollars for special interests while citizens are given a false sense that something has been accomplished. Since these proposals are impossible as well as unconstitutional, they will fail. And the politicians who have opportunistically leapt onto this idiotic bandwagon will evaporate, leaving our children to clean up the economic and environmental disaster compounded by left-wing dithering on behalf of corporate profiteers.

Americans are waking up to these truths, but Vermont’s progressive Legislature remains stuporous, or is stubbornly opposed to the realities on the ground. Under Vermont’s GWSA, the Legislature can “take actions” to meet vague, arbitrary goals that are unaccountable to the Constitution or even to the limits of what is possible. Does the due process clause no longer apply to Vermont businesses that sell combustion engine vehicles, or has Vermont gone full socialist and will take over the economy with a five-year plan? (After all, it wants to cover rents for tenants. Will it then become the landlord, and just oversee all rentals like it plans to do with the automotive industry?) And what is banning snowmobiles or ATVs outright, compared to mandating we buy expensive electric cars? Perhaps swimming pools, golfing, and large lawns will be circumscribed by the new GWSA government. But it surely is not a democratic, or even constitutional, process.

President Joe Biden has jumped on the inefficient electric car bandwagon, announcing last summer a sort of “cash for clunkers” redux that will be as environmentally destructive and stupid as when then President Obama did it. Every time a combustion-engine vehicle is prematurely “retired” to be replaced by a “more efficient” vehicle, a gross environmental offense occurs — it took the equivalent of many hundreds of barrels of fossil fuels to manufacture those “clunkers,” and manufacturing new ones in their stead creates exponentially more CO2 and chemical pollution than continuing to drive a “clunker” that has already contributed the bulk of its environmental footprint. (It is akin to “recycling — use it till it dies rather than artificially shorten its useful life!). Plus there are issues of equity — it is regressive to subsidize expensive vehicles that poor citizens can’t afford.

Like California’s plan to prohibit new car sales, Biden’s plan is more promise than delivery, empty words followed by counter-productive action:

The piece that would impact drivers the most is a plan to offer incentives or rebates for people to swap their older, less fuel-efficient cars for EVs made in America. … During today’s speech, Biden didn’t share details of the idea such as how much the incentives would be or what constitutes bad fuel efficiency. … The plan seems rooted in a proposal from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D–New York) that would cost $454 billion over 10 years to offer incentives for people to trade in their gas car for an electric, hybrid, or hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle.

These proposals pump up sales of manufactured goods by large corporations, subsidized inefficiently by the government. That is, they increase profits for certain industries while increasing pollution for future generations, all while virtue-signaling that a solution has been discovered. Nothing could be more untrue.

Vermont’s Progressives likely already have plans drafted to follow suit and ban combustion engines. But the plan is pathetically shallow and demonstrably impossible. As one commentator recently observed, California has closed down its nuclear plant and is rushing to replace all power with so-called “renewables,” but it continues to consume out-of-state electricity to meet demand:

“Green” energy policies are a disaster everywhere they are being implemented, but California will probably crash and burn before the other states that have gone down the “green” path.

Perhaps Vermont will benefit from not being first this time, and sober up to the reality of our aging infrastructure and the absence of any new technology to rescue us overnight. Common sense is in short supply in Montpelier. When the renewable boondoggle implodes, perhaps real solutions to limitless consumption will be sought, rather than false panaceas that benefit a few corporate and political “stakeholders” while dragging us all backward economically and environmentally.

John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and the former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield. © Copyright True North Reports 2021. All rights reserved.

Image courtesy of Public domain

18 thoughts on “John Klar: Will Vermont’s progressives ban gas-powered cars?

  1. If the liberal-commies want to ban fuel powered vehicles, then their push for equity will require them to ‘give’ us all EVs.

  2. Nickle and dime criticisms will never work with folks frightened by an existential threat.
    1) If my solution to reduce CO2 isn’t good enough what is yours?
    2) You concede that CO2 is the problem to solve. (it isn’t). At .14C/decade we will not reach 1.5C for 100+ yrs. Not the 15 Yrs that alarmists claim.
    3) Vermont or even the US will never contribute sufficient CO2 reduction while India and China continue to increase CO2 with the UN blessing.
    4) And don’t let the Constitution stand in the way of our existence.
    How arrogant are we to criticize Progressives when Republicans and Conservatives cannot articulate the problem. We are as much to blame for this fiasco.

  3. An interesting development is the recent creation of a new Conservative Climate Caucus in the U.S, House of Representatives. Led by Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah) he says he’s poised to lead his party to the negotiating table in search of durable solutions to the climate challenge. He announced the creation of the caucus which has the backing of nearly a third of House Republicans last week.

    Problems of changing climate, like a new deadly virus, should be addressed not by denial, overreaction, or as an ideological issue, but by clear headed practical action. The involvement of those with Republican sensibility in this discussion is much needed.

  4. When I was a kid, we had wind-up cars, which ran off a mainspring. Also there were friction cars, you’d push them and get the flywheel spinning, then they’d take off across the floor.
    No gas or battery required!
    Maybe just fly-powered cars. Any dairy farm can source an endless supply of flies. Hook them up to a flywheel and you’re good to go.
    Now if we could convert lie-power into motive power, that would be something. It’s as good as perpetual motion.

  5. RE folks on the 23-member, GSWA Committee are also fantasizing about banning traditional heating systems of houses and other buildings and replacing them with heat pumps.

    Here is a summary of MY REAL-WORLD EXPERIENCE

    Heat Pumps are Money Losers in my Vermont House (as they are in almost all people’s houses)

    My annual electricity consumption increased about 50% (the various taxes, fees, and surcharges also increased), after I installed three Mitsubishi, 24,000 Btu/h heat pumps, each with 2 heads; 2 in the living room, 1 in the kitchen, and 1 in each of 3 bedrooms.
    The heat pumps last about 15 years.

    They are used for heating and cooling my 35-y-old, well-sealed/well-insulated house. It has 2” of blueboard (R-10 vs R-0.67 for 8” concrete) on the outside of the concrete foundation and under the basement slab which has saved me many thousands of heating dollars over the 35 years.

    Before heat pumps, my heating propane was 1000 gal/y, after heat pumps, it was 830 gal/y, a reduction of 170 gal/y, or $310/y, at $2.399/gal. Additional electricity costs were $609/y. I AM LOSING MONEY
    Domestic hot water, DHW, heating, requires about 200 gallon/y

    My existing Viessmann propane system, 95%-efficient in condensing mode, is used on cold days, 15F or less, because heat pumps have low efficiencies, i.e., low Btu/kWh, at exactly the same time my house would need the most heat; a perverse situation, due to the laws of Physics 101!!

    The heat pumps would be slightly more efficient than electric resistance heaters at -10F, the Vermont HVAC design temperature. It would be extremely irrational to operate air source heat pumps, at such temperatures.

    I have had no energy cost savings, because of high household electric rates, augmented with taxes, fees and surcharges. Vermont forcing, with subsidies, the addition of expensive RE electricity to the mix, would make matters worse!!

    Amortizing the $24,000 turnkey capital cost at 3.5%/y for 15 years costs about $2,059/y; I AM LOSING MORE MONEY

    There likely will be service calls and parts for the heat pumps, as the years go by, in addition to annual service calls and parts for the existing propane system; I AM LOSING EVEN MORE MONEY

    If I had a highly sealed, highly insulated house, with the same efficient propane heating system, my house would use very little energy for heating.
    If I would install heat pumps* and would operate the propane system on only the coldest days, I likely would have energy cost savings.
    However, those annual energy cost savings would be overwhelmed by the annual amortizing cost, i.e., I would still be losing money, if amortizing were considered.

    * I likely would need 3 units at 18,000 Btu/h, at a lesser turnkey capital cost. Their output, very-inefficiently produced, would be about 27,000 Btu/h at -10F, the Vermont HVAC design temperature.

    NOTE: VT-Department of Public Service found, after a survey of 77 heat pumps installed in Vermont houses (turnkey cost for a one-head HP system is about $4,500), the annual energy cost savings were, on average, $200, but the annual amortizing costs turned that gain into a loss of $200, i.e., on average, these houses were unsuitable for heat pumps, and the owners were losing money.

    • Willem:
      Our report with heat pumps is very much the same as yours. Right out of the shute, it is the worst decision we ever made in operation of a heating / ventilating system. We will start with the situation now and work backwards. Currently, we have one outdoor unit with two interior units cooling our home. One other outdoor unit along with two interior units is non-operational, with the contractor showing up to service the units, the non-operational one started, ran for an hour and quit again. The contractor refuses to come back for a re-check, because I guess he didn’t like what I told him: “The worst business decision we ever made, and we are considering having the non operational units removed”. That was not music to his ears and he is long gone putting the wood to someone else I am guessing. Both units were working last fall, so something happened during the winter it appears.
      Efficiency VT should be helping us, but are nowhere to be found; we are left to work this out on our own and we will and there will be plenty of reports generated in the meantime that let people know just where the bear went and what he did in the buckwheat. That story of the “bear” is the equivalent of what we are experiencing; a 4 letter word starting with “S”. Yesterday, I did get a contractor to agree to come to our place to service the defective unit, and he will be here on Oct 25, 2021. Nice, Nice Efficiency Vermont!!!! It is back to window air conditioners and common sense and good judgement will return, trust me. And it will be done without Efficiency Vermont, believe me.

  6. Language is important.

    Below is an excerpt from the article referenced by John Klar.

    EVs are not “made in America”, they are primarily ‘assembled’ in America. The chemicals, rare earth metals and particularly the batteries in whole are “made in China”. Hence Biden’s policy strengthens our leading adversary in China:

    “Like California’s plan to prohibit new car sales, Biden’s plan is more promise than delivery, empty words followed by counter-productive action:

    The piece that would impact drivers the most is a plan to offer incentives or rebates for people to swap their older, less fuel-efficient cars for EVs made in America. …”

  7. EAN and VT-DPS claim a very optimistic CO2 reduction per EV.
    In reality, the CO2 reduction is less than 50% of their claims, on a lifetime, A-to-Z basis, as shown below.

    Instead of RE folks on the 23-member, GSWA Committee fantasizing about banning gasoline vehicles, they should recommend Vermont enforces a gas-guzzler code to impose a fee on low-mileage vehicles.

    The more below 40-mpg, the greater would be the fee.
    Vehicles with greater than 40-mpg, such as the 54-mpg Toyota Prius, would be exempt.

    Fantasizing RE folks would have everyone drive UNAFFORDABLE, MATCHBOX-SIZE EVs, that would not reduce much CO2 compared with EFFICIENT gasoline vehicles.

    On a lifetime, A-to-Z basis, with travel at 105,600 miles over 10 years, the CO2 emissions, based on the present New England grid CO2/kWh, would be:

    NISSAN Leaf S Plus, EV, compact SUV, no AWD, would emit 25.967 Mt, 246 g/mile
    TOYOTA Prius L Eco, 62 mpg, compact car, no AWD, would emit 26.490 Mt, 251 g/mile
    SUBARU Outback, 30 mpg, medium SUV, with AWD, would emit 43.015 Mt, 407 g/mile
    VT LDV mix, 22.7 mpg, many with AWD or 4WD, would emit 56.315 Mt, 533 g/mile
    See Notes.

    The above shows,

    A NISSAN Leaf, a compact vehicle, would have CO2 reduction of 30.3 Mt over 10 years (3 Mt/y), if compared with the VT LDV mix, which contains small and big vehicles.

    A NISSAN Leaf would have CO2 reduction of 16.3 Mt over 10 years (1.63 Mt/y), if compared with my 30-mpg Subaru Outback, a vastly more useful vehicle

    NOTE: EAN estimated 4.5 Mt/y, based on an artificial 23 g CO2/kWh electricity, instead of using the 317 g/kWh of the NE rid, calculated by ISO-NE on a rational basis. EAN neglected: 1) the CO2 of MAKING the battery, etc., and 2) LIFETIME conditions

    NOTE: These URLs show, EVs are driven an average of 7,000 miles/y, compared to 12,000 miles/y for the US LDV mix.
    The difference holds for: 1) all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, 2) single- and multiple-vehicle households, and 3) inside and outside California. This means, as a fleet, EVs would reduce less CO2 than envisioned by RE folks’ dream scenarios. See URLs

    Any analyses by EAN, or VT-DOT, or Concerned “Scientists” (anyone can join), etc., using 12,000, or even 15,000 miles per year, would be in error, because CO2 reduction/EV would be GROSSLY OVERESTIMATED.

  8. It will be interesting to see the first round of edicts from the GWSA council. I suspect that emphasis will be made for “Disadvantaged Persons” to be well accommodated, without much of a real plan to do much else except tax the rest of us. If Vermont is to really shift to electricity as a power source for transportation and home heating, this feat won’t be cheap. Vermont’s current electric transmission and distribution system will require Hundreds of Millions of dollars in upgrades- along with the enormous costs of permitting and litigating such things. The real winners in this farce are the legislature, whom benefit from increased corporate and individual campaign donations and the legal firms litigating the edicts and regulations. All this before even one electron is delivered into the car’s battery.

  9. I think we need a new Amendment to the Constitution that we have a inalienable right to a Fossil Fueled Vehicle… every way as important as Free Speech and Protecting your self… especially in the brown outs from all the sheep plugging in their
    battery powered moving devices on a failing power grid..

  10. Here is an interesting article on a source of lithium in the US. It is doubtful that battery powered EVs will save the US. The whole globe is experiencing climate change, but California’s climate has gone extremely dry and hot. I have read some recent articles about how large tracts of solar panels can raise regional temperatures by 2 – 3 degrees C. CA has over 12,740 acres under PV solar installations. That doesn’t include those on commercial buildings or private properties, in towns and cities. Since CA instituted GWSA in 2005, utility size solar installations have steadily increased and so has it’s droughts and wildfires.
    Will more future solar installations in Vermont bring about hotter and dryer years in the Green Mountain State? Can Vermont afford it. What will happen to the skiing industry, one of the backbone industries for Vermont? And in reference to infrastructure, where will all the EV lithium ion batteries and solar panels be disposed of when worn out?

  11. Where does Electricity come from? The wall outlet – you ninnie! And, Why do you ask?
    Don’t you know anything??!?

    Where do all the exotic materials needed for a billion state of the art batteries come from?
    How much of this EXOTIC material can be found in this world?
    This is another Huge Huge Huge turn-over, with zero preparation!

    ALL This after gasoline cars became so perfectly clean that they cleaned up the Los Angelos smog!!
    Do you remember that???

  12. I would imagine a fleet of electric snowplows could probably get 60 miles in the middle of January when the temp drops to minus 20. Hopefully there’s another fleet of portable electric charging stations using diesel.

    • 20 miles at most, and not yet where they need to start plowing !!

      Highways plows are HUGE!!

      I watched a show where some folks were trying to transplant a wrecked Tesla drivetrain
      into a failed gas engine car.
      Unbelievably Complicated – FAR WAY BEYOND – Way Beyond a battery and a motor,
      and a “gas pedal!!””

  13. As long as we have these liberal fools making policies, I wouldn’t doubt it, I would hope
    the real remaining Vermonter’s put a stop to all the foolishness coming out of Montpelier
    and the ” Golden Doom “………. pretty pathetic display of leadership !!

    Wake up, people.

  14. It the Green tyrants in Montpelier want to jump into electrifying all transportation, along with home heating and all the other tools that are run on gasoline they are going to have to build more than one nuclear power plant. It’s that or deal with third world living conditions.

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