The Road Ahead: Weighing the Effects of President Biden's Electric Vehicle Goal

Luke Puricelli ’25 in Opinions | April 28, 2023

This month, the Environmental Protection Agency announced its plans to accelerate electric vehicle (EV) production to meet President Biden’s 2021 goal for 50 percent of vehicles sold in 2030 to be electric, hybrid, or fuel cell driven. Given that gas stations can be found at every street corner, and pollution takes over our air, Biden’s policy is the first major step towards reducing the transportation industry’s negative impact on climate change. Transportation is the largest single contributing industry to climate change, producing 27 percent of all CO2 emissions. It is about time we took extreme action against gas-guzzling cars.
Electric vehicles are substantially more carbon-efficient than gas vehicles. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, producing the electricity necessary to power electric vehicles produces some CO2; however, electric vehicles do not directly produce carbon themselves, ultimately reducing the total tonnage of polluting emissions, leading to a cleaner environment. As America generates more and more electricity from renewable sources, powering electric vehicles becomes even more carbon efficient. 
Moreover, electric vehicles are becoming easier to operate in the United States. Electric vehicle owners do not have to pay the now exorbitant gas prices and instead can conveniently charge their car at home. In addition, Tesla Motors now has about 17,000 free public chargers located in parking lots and along city streets across America, and this number is growing as more people switch to electric vehicles.
While Biden’s goal will benefit our air quality and help curb climate change, many Americans have the right to be concerned about his policy. Electric vehicles are far more expensive than gas-powered vehicles––a gas-powered Ford F-150's cost starts at $33,695 while the electric F-150 starts at $55,974. People who cannot afford to make the switch to electric vehicles might be forced to seek alternatives to owning a car such as bikes, electric bikes, buses, or walking. To support this transition to electric vehicles, Biden must also encourage alternatives to cars to accommodate Americans who cannot meet their rising prices. Although living without a car seems impossible in modern America, Americans’ reliance on cars is the reason the transportation industry’s carbon emissions are so great. Forcing less people to own cars forces the government to sponsor more efficient public transportation. Although the transition away from cars will not be easy, in the end, it will bring about a much more efficient America, with fewer, more carbon efficient vehicles.
But public transportation will not need to support the entire burden of transitioning to electric vehicles. Electric vehicle prices will not remain high forever. As the market for Electric Vehicles (EV’s) grows, automotive companies will produce and compete more, naturally lowering the prices of EV’s. The transition period from gas to electric vehicles does look rocky; affordable cars will become harder to find and less people will be able to own vehicles. However, gas vehicles will not be completely phased out. Those who can afford the price of electric vehicles have the incentives of convenient charging and saving years of gas money. We also should not discount Biden’s inclusion of hybrid vehicles in his 2030 goal. Hybrid vehicles are often cheaper to buy than EV’s and have a much better mile per gallon ratings than their gas-fueled counterparts. Hybrids can be a more affordable option that save owners some gas money and also benefit our climate. Even though this change may sound scary, the transition to electric and hybrid vehicles has begun, and overtime, they will become the primary option available. Biden’s goal will not eradicate pollution or carbon emissions, and the car industry will need to endure a revolution in car production. But Biden’s goal will become practical and will significantly reduce pollution and emissions in America. Biden’s goal is the first major governmental step addressing the transportation industry’s contribution to climate change––an unprecedented level of action we must trust will create a healthier planet.