Trump and EVs: Actions Belie Words

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Trump and EV support
The President said he’s all for EVS, but his actions support fossil fuels instead.

President Donald Trump announced during the presidential candidates’ debate last week that he’s a big fan of EVs.

It’s not nice to kick at someone when he’s down – as this is being written Trump is in Walter Reed Hospital being treated for Covid-19. So we won’t call him a liar and a tool of the fossil fuel industry.

[A 2-min. read.]

We will, however, fact check him on the issue of his “support” for EVs.

What he said during the debate:

“I’m all for electric cars,” and “I’ve given big incentives to electric cars.”

We don’t claim to be able to divine the president’s beliefs: He may well really think he’s “all for” EVs. But his actions since being sworn-in nearly four years ago have been anything but favorable to electric vehicle growth in the U.S.

As for the second statement: Absolutely untrue.

In his 2019 budget, for example, Trump proposed eliminating the $7,500 federal incentive for EVs. It was a rarely bipartisan Congress that reinstated it.

There are no other federal EV incentives, and the one Trump tried to eliminate was instituted by Congress in the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 and was signed into law by then-President George W. Bush during the final months of his administration.

If you want to see for yourself, it is Section 25 of Public Law 110-343.

Republicans in the House of Representatives tried to kill the inc.entive in 2017, but their effort was blocked.

Another example of Trump’s lack of sport for EVs and other clean vehicles is his bid to eliminate a federally guaranteed loan program for development of energy efficient vehicles and technologies.

That plan, called the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program, was instituted in 2007 has been dormant since 2011. Only five loans were made, totaling about $8.2 billion of the $25 billion authorized. It has had some successes – it helped Tesla get the Model S into production – and failures – Fisker Automotive when under after drawing $192 million of an approved $535 million loan.

As of last year the program had earned the federal government some $3 billion in interest.

While some $16 billion in loan capacity still exists and still could be used by someone who is “all for” them to promote EV development, Trump’s 2021 budget plan would eliminate the program.

Generally, the Trump Administration has boosted increased production of fossil fuels while trying to undo most all of the environmental programs established under Obama, including several, such as aggressive new fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks, that would encourage EV use.

The administration also is attempting to take away California’s long-established right to develop its own clean air standards – including auto emissions rules that have been largely responsible for the development of EVs,

So while Trump can say he’s “all for electric cars,” as president he hasn’t shown any such love in any way whatsoever.