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No car loans from Bank Australia, unless it’s an EV — and the US may do the same

AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez
An electric vehicle is charging at a shopping center in Emeryville, Calif., on Aug. 10, 2022.

Bank Australia recently announced that it will stop granting loans for new fossil fuel cars from 2025 forward to force more people to purchase electric vehicles. Justifying the bank’s move, its chief impact officer proclaimed, “We think that the responsible thing for us to do … is to ensure that our vehicle lending doesn’t lock our customers in to higher carbon emissions and increasingly expensive running costs in the years ahead.” 

But is making it more difficult for hard-working men and women to obtain affordable vehicles that run on reliable energy really the “responsible thing” to do? That’s exactly the premise that environmental extremists would have everyone believe, even though electric vehicles are significantly more expensive to purchase than vehicles that run on gasoline. Not to mention the fact that the asking price of an electric vehicle does not appear to be going down anytime soon. 

The cost of the raw materials for electric vehicles more than doubled during the COVID pandemic thanks to increases in costs of materials such as cobalt, nickel and lithium, which are essential to produce electric vehicle batteries. There’s also the high price tag associated with replacing an electric vehicle battery, as well as to install or use a charging station and pay for the electricity used to charge the battery, which often is, ironically, powered by fossil fuels. 

And even if the overall price tag of an electric vehicle were equal to or less than that of a gasoline-powered vehicle, as the woke crowd asserts, the true costs go beyond mere dollars and cents. While liberal elitists are quick to point to the alleged environmental benefits of driving an electric vehicle, many conveniently turn a blind eye to the instances of child and forced labor that have been identified in the electric vehicle supply chain. It’s no secret that cobalt mining in the Congo for electric vehicle batteries has placed countless children in harm’s way, and that ethnic minorities suffer in forced labor camps at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party. 

So, let’s get this straight. It costs families more money to purchase an electric vehicle; many electric vehicles batteries are charged by coal and natural gas; and there’s an ongoing humanitarian problem of child and forced labor being used to source the materials for electric vehicles. Nonetheless, making it more difficult for Australians to purchase a new vehicle other than electric is the “responsible” thing to do? 

But the absurdity of professing the moral and fiscal superiority of electric vehicles isn’t contained to Australia. California regulators recently took the farce to the next level here in the U.S. by banning the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles starting in 2035. And if you’re worried your state may be next, you probably should be. As of May, 17 states have adopted California-style vehicle emissions requirements, making it only a matter of time, perhaps, before overzealous legislators and regulators in those states seek to follow California off the electric vehicle cliff. 

States such as California and its disciples stand in stark contrast to their brethren in West Virginia and Texas, who have been leaders in protecting their citizens from those who oppose reliable and affordable sources of energy. For example, West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore deemed five financial institutions ineligible for state banking contracts after being empowered by the state legislature to cut off banks that boycott fossil fuels. In doing so, Moore blocked giants such as BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo from access to $18 billion in annual state inflows and outflows. Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar also recently cut off from state contracts several institutions that are similarly hostile to fossil fuels, including BlackRock and UBS.

Sadly, federal lawmakers in the U.S. seem to be following the California-model of hypocritical environmental “elitist first and everyday American last” policy when it comes to electric vehicles. The dubiously titled Inflation Reduction Act that President Biden signed into law provides tax credits for the purchase of new and used electric vehicles. So, while Biden takes a victory lap for this latest Democrat spending spree on electric vehicles and other climate-related initiatives, the American people will be left to ponder: Was this really the responsible thing to do?

Sarah Rehberg is the Free Enterprise Project program coordinator for the National Center for Public Policy Research. She most recently held several leadership positions at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, including as an Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security in the Office of Strategy, Policy and Plans.  

Tags Electric vehicles Fossil fuels green energy myth

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