Photo provided by Ron DeSantis for president campaign.

DeSantis Wants To “Repeal Biden’s EV Mandates” And “Achieve $2 Gas In 2025”

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If Ron DeSantis was to be elected US President, he would s-l-l-o-o-w-w-w down the transition to electric vehicles (EVs). He’d repeal federal tax credits and subsidies in the Inflation Reduction Act related to EVs and their infrastructure.

His shapeshifting is remarkable.

DeSantis is brazen enough to state, “There’s also no conflict in saying that if people want to buy those vehicles, by all means, they can buy the vehicles. They now have more infrastructure in Florida to do it.” He fails to mention that one of the most dramatic expansions of EV charging station construction from Dieselgate funds was in the Sunshine State. The terms of the VW settlement only allowed Florida to install charging stations, so charging stations it was. DeSantis, however, says, “Mandating it and shoehorning everybody in there, that’s not anything I’ve ever supported.”

These comments echo HR 1435, the proposed Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act. The Republican-sponsored bill would end California’s efforts to ban gas-powered cars and preserve Americans’ ability to choose vehicles that emit dangerous emissions. It offers a counter-narrative to California’s mandate that all new vehicles sold in the state be 100% battery electric by 2035, with 17 other states putting forth similar bans on internal combustion engines that would be triggered if EPA approves California’s request. As House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) acknowledges, “This affects 40% of the US new vehicle market — and companies don’t customize cars for every state.”

Meanwhile, cars and vans accounted for 48% of global transport carbon dioxide emissions in 2022, according to an analysis by Statista based on International Energy Agency data (IEA). In the place of EVs that would reduce CO2 emissions, DeSantis would “support Americans’ right to drive the cars they want.” He uttered this while standing in front of two active oil rigs, explaining that his energy plan would be eased by the reduction of federal regulations in order to boost domestic fossil fuel production.

Shattering Progress toward EV Infrastructure Would Only Be the Start for DeSantis

It isn’t a coincidence that his Fossil-Fuels-Are-Fabulous perspective aligns with the worldview of his primary donors: oil and gas executives. “We will unleash American energy dominance as a way to stop inflation and achieve $2 gas in 2025,” DeSantis said on Wednesday. The lectern in front of the governor held a sign repeating the $2 mantra. “Energy dominance” is a lightly veiled code for unlimited drilling. He said energy security “is a matter of our national security.”

And, as if that isn’t bad enough, he’d also:

  • withdraw from the Paris climate agreement that is designed to counteract the warming of the Earth;
  • end all commitments for the country to cut net greenhouse emissions to zero;
  • streamline the environmental review process for energy and infrastructure projects;
  • eliminate the Department of Energy;
  • cancel the Global Methane Pledge, a joint goal with the European Union;
  • expedite approval for more pipelines;
  • prioritize “reliable” energy sources such as natural gas, coal, nuclear power, and hydropower;
  • allow mining and extraction of oil, gas, coal, uranium, and other minerals on federal lands;
  • propose substantial investments in critical minerals, including the establishment of a Critical Mineral Strategic Reserve; and,
  • ban government pension funds from considering factors like environmental, social and governance when making investment decisions.

The Financial Times explains that DeSantis is one of the Republicans who are hoping to “capitalize on growing discontent with Trump among oil executives, who fear he will lose another election to Biden in 2024, resulting in more regulation of their industry.”

In lockstep, DeSantis boasted of his grand vision to return fossil fuels to their righteous place of releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the air, trapping heat in our atmosphere, and causing global warming. “I will ensure that the United States of America is the dominant energy producer in the entire world,” DeSantis said Wednesday morning. “I will ensure that this country does not have to rely on hostile nations for its energy needs ever again.” If elected, DeSantis claims he will prevent “California and faceless bureaucrats from setting America’s environmental standards.”

As if the Climate Isn’t in Crisis Enough …

The Republican presidential hopeful insists people are “safer than ever from climate disasters” and thinks that the fear of an “environmental catastrophe” fueled by climate change is overblown. It’s as if DeSantis has selective amnesia — late last month the National Weather Service in Tallahassee called Hurricane Idalia “an unprecedented event,” since no major hurricanes on record had ever passed through the bay abutting the Big Bend region. The Category 3 storm caused widespread flooding and damage, and, yet, when President Biden flew in to tour the damage personally, DeSantis declined to join the entourage.

In response to a question from CNN about concerns people have over recent instances of flooding and wildfire smoke, the governor acknowledged that climate disasters were “problematic” but said that the federal reaction to such threats needs to be “a little more realistic.”

What happened to the stance DeSantis took on his second day as governor in 2019 when he signed an executive order that directed Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection to “oppose all off-shore oil and gas activities off every coast in Florida and hydraulic fracturing in Florida?” Why did his administration purchase 20,000 acres of Everglades wetlands in 2020 to permanently protect them from oil drilling? Well, that was Florida, he now says, not Louisiana or Texas, where “it’s really up to them what they want to do.”

“Voters need look no further than DeSantis’s own state — where his agenda is leading to skyrocketing energy costs for his constituents and natural disasters are causing tens of billions of dollars in damages — to know what DeSantis’s plan would mean for the country,” Ammar Moussa, a spokesperson for Biden’s reelection campaign, told the New York Times.

The Takeaway

DeSantis is a plague on Florida and hopes to spread the malaise to the rest of the US with his presidency. To be honest, I’m getting kind of sick of being characterized by my own governor as someone who promotes the “radical left’s ideological agenda” and part of “the woke mob” simply because I want to give every person an equal opportunity regardless of sex traits, political affiliation, cultural category of race, or religion. The term “woke” captures a cultural shift in which people have enhanced awareness to issues related to social justice, diversity, and inclusivity. It’s a positive movement, a way of acknowledging that I have been given some unearned rights and expressing the desire to join in a more equitable society by making injustice transparent.

Being woke is a type of consciousness that Ron DeSantis does not have, and he’s proud of it. If he were to be elected US president, loss of EV progress would only be the start in the rights we’d see evaporate before us.

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Carolyn Fortuna

Carolyn Fortuna (they, them), Ph.D., is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to ecojustice. Carolyn has won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavy Foundation. Carolyn is a small-time investor in Tesla and an owner of a Model Y as well as a Chevy Bolt. Please follow Carolyn on Twitter and Facebook.

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