Rick Scott & His Senate Friends Introduce The DIRTY CAR EV Act

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Rick Scott, the reactionary senator from Florida, and four of his like-minded colleagues, have had enough of the Biden administration’s policies that promote a faster transition to electric vehicles. In fact, they are mad as hell and they aren’t going to take it anymore! It’s bad enough that Biden was elected in 2020 because of massive voter fraud engineered by George Soros, but forcing people to buy EVs that are worse polluters than conventional cars is the final straw for this group of intrepid senators.

On April 26, Rick Scott announced that he, along with John Barrasso, Roger Marshall, Mike Lee, and Dan Sullivan, have introduced the Directing Independent Research To Yield Carbon Assessment Regarding Electric Vehicles (DIRTY CAR EV) Act to require the Comptroller General of the United States, in consultation with the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, to conduct a study on the true carbon footprint of electric vehicles and research the ramifications of widespread electric vehicle usage on the country’s electrical grids.

In that announcement, Scott said, “The Biden administration continues to push the use of electric vehicles by forcing the automotive industry to shift away from the use of fossil fuels. We need clear data on what impacts this will have on American families and our environment. There is ample evidence to suggest that EVs are not as clean as people are being led to believe and folks deserve to know the truth. Knowing the carbon footprint of each electric vehicle and the impact on our electrical grids are key to making informed decisions and preventing widespread government regulations and gross overreach.”

John Barrasso added some typical reactionary thunder of his own. “The Biden administration wants to force Americans into expensive electric vehicles without telling them the whole story. Huge amounts of mined raw materials go into each electric vehicle. This legislation will make sure that when it comes to the environmental impacts, electric vehicles don’t get a free ride as they do today. Washington should ensure a level playing field and preserve consumer choice.”

Astute CleanTechnica readers will quickly spot the usual code words employed by these two august legislators, words like “forcing,” “government regulations,” “level playing field,” and “consumer choice.” But Scott tips his hand with this phrase — “forcing the automotive industry to shift away from the use of fossil fuels” (emphasis added). Yup, there it is for all the world to see. In the midst of a gathering climate storm, which saw a highly unusual string of powerful tornadoes ripped through his beloved Florida just days ago, Scott’s focus is on preserving the flow of cash he receives for Big Oil to dutifully regurgitate the pablum they feed him.

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What Rick Scott Gets Wrong

The name of this legislation is childish. It demeans not only the proposed bill, but the people who sponsored it. Anyone who wants to know the truth about electric cars and lifetime emissions only needs to spend a few minutes on the internet to find accurate information.

Not surprisingly, CleanTechnica has done a ton of articles on this topic, as a search of our archives will reveal. Perhaps one of the best focuses on a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists which finds total lifetime emissions from an electric vehicle are 50% less than those from a comparable vehicle equipped with a gasoline or diesel engine.

“Over its lifetime — from manufacturing to operation to disposal — the average new battery electric vehicle produces more than 50 percent less global warming pollution than a comparable gasoline or diesel vehicle. Based on the most recently available data on power plant emissions and EV sales, driving the average EV in the United States produces global warming emissions equal to a gasoline vehicle that gets 91 miles per gallon” (emphasis added).

The more efficient an electric car is, the greater the benefits of switching from gasoline to electricity, according to UCS. For example, the emissions from driving a 2021 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus in California equal those of a gasoline car getting 152 miles per gallon. The Tesla’s global warming emissions are a fifth of those of the average new gasoline car, and over 60% less than even the most efficient gasoline car on the market.

Emissions From Generating Plants

To assess the total global warming emissions from charging electric vehicles, the UCS study addressed all contributions from electricity production. These include:

  • Emissions that result from raw-material extraction, such as coal mining and natural gas drilling
  • Emissions from delivering these fuels to power plants
  • Emissions from burning those fuels in power plants to generate electricity
  • Electricity losses that occur during distribution from power plants to the point where the electric vehicle is plugged in
  • The efficiency of the vehicle in recharging and using electricity

The assessment of the global warming emissions from comparable gasoline and diesel vehicles includes emissions that result from:

  • Oil extraction at the well
  • Transporting crude oil to refineries
  • Refining oil into gasoline
  • Delivering fuel to gas stations
  • Combusting fuel in the vehicle’s engine

Did Rick Scott or John Barrasso bother to make a similar inquiry? Don’t be silly. Why waste time doing your job when your handlers have already bought and paid for what they want you to say?

Emissions From Manufacturing

The UCS acknowledges that manufacturing an EV results in more global warming emissions than manufacturing a comparable gasoline vehicle, primarily because of the energy and materials need to produce an EV battery. However, most of the global warming emissions over the lifespan of a vehicle occur during its use, so the reductions from driving an EV more than offset the higher manufacturing emissions during the lifetime of the vehicle.

Comparing the average gasoline-powered sedan (32 mpg) to the average EV with a 300-mile range battery, UCS found the EV reduces total lifetime emissions by 52%. An EV pickup truck reduces lifetime emissions 57% compared with the average gasoline pickup.

Emissions From Mining

There is a great hullabaloo going on today about the horrors of mining the raw materials needed to make batteries for electric cars. Oddly, almost no one in the House or Senate has anything bad to say about the enormous consequences associated with extracting, transporting, refining, distributing, and burning fossil fuels. Politicians preach the wonders of coal, oil, and methane gas with an almost religious fervor. As Bill McKibben pointed out recently, 40% of the emissions associated with fossil fuels are attributable to just transporting the stuff from well to refineries to end users.

There is no question that electric vehicles use lithium, manganese, cobalt, and nickel in larger quantities that combustion engine cars do, but there is also no question that battery recycling is growing at an astonishing rate. Nearly everything that goes into making batteries can be recaptured, recycled, and reused to make new batteries without any new mining at all. The fossil fuel crowd doesn’t like to talk about that.

They also don’t talk about LFP batteries, which use no cobalt or nickel, or sodium ion batteries that use no lithium. There are stunning new developments in battery technology being announce almost weekly. The Chicken Littles like Rick Scott (who forbid anyone in his administration from using the words “climate change” when he was governor of Florida) and his allies in the Senate are focused on what the state of the industry was five years ago, not what it is today or will be in the future. Such skewed thinking is hardly conducive to effective legislation.

The Takeaway On Rick Scott

The DIRTY CAR EV bill is an act of political grandstanding. It’s juvenile, puerile, and sophomoric, just like its authors. But we can’t just dismiss such buffoonery, because it reveals the extent to which fossil fuel money is the tail that wags the dog in Washington.

It has no chance of becoming law, but its intent is to lay down a marker, one that tells the fossil fuel companies they are getting good value for their money. Nevertheless, it sends a strong signal that many of our elected officials would gladly throw their constituents under the bus if it means they get to keep feeding at the trough of money supplied by fossil fuel companies. It’s said to think Rick Scott, et al. have such little regard for the people who elected them or for the Earth that sustains us all.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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