Wyoming GOP State Lawmakers Propose to Ban Electric Cars

by | Jan 18, 2023

Wyoming: Blue California's Red Mini-Me?
Elon Musk's Tesla banned in Wyoming?

Wyoming’s legislature has reacted in the worst possible way to California’s ridiculous ban on future sales of gasoline-powered vehicles — with an even more ridiculous ban of its own:

A group of GOP Wyoming state lawmakers want to end electric vehicle sales there by 2035, saying the move will help safeguard the oil and gas industries.

Has even the GOP forgotten that electricity has to come from somewhere? Petroleum quite frequently powers electric generators. If anything, conversion and transmission losses between the power lines and the charging stations would cause demand for petroleum — to power cars via electricity — to be greater than that for just powering them directly.

Or it might not, for other reasons, but I’m not interested in or qualified to do the kind of analysis it would take to prove the validity of the above excuse one way or the other.

And there’s a bigger fish to fry here, anyway.

That bigger fish is that it isn’t the proper role of government to run the economy, much less pick winners and losers, as some better GOP politicians used to say. California is wrong to ban gas-powered vehicles (or anything else), and becoming more like that state is not even a part of a solution.

In case you have any doubts about the firmness of the grasp of today’s GOP on the principles behind free enterprise, keep reading:

The measure, introduced to the state legislature on Friday, was sponsored by six state legislators, who said in it that electric vehicles will hinder Wyoming’s ability to trade with other states. The bill states that citizens and industries would be encouraged not to purchase electric vehicles before the ban goes into effect.”The proliferation of electric vehicles at the expense of gas-powered vehicles will have deleterious impacts on Wyoming’s communities and will be detrimental to Wyoming’s economy and the ability for the country to efficiently engage in commerce,” the bill reads.

The legislation said that adding new power charging stations would require “massive” amounts of new power to “sustain the misadventure of electric vehicles.” [bold added]

In a free economy, if someone wants to build charging stations for electric cars and supply them with electricity, he should be free to do so — at his own expense. That would not be the government’s concern, nor should it be. Ditto for electric cars.

It is as plain as day — to anyone who knows anything at all about economics — that electric vehicles are an inferior alternative to internal combustion vehicles for the vast majority of applications. That is why governments subsidize them in various ways, “encourage” their use via regulations, provide tax breaks for purchasing them, and — yes, even in nutty, green California — ban the superior alternative.

The GOP seems to have forgotten the most basic economics and run out of ideas. The solution to government “encouragement” of electric vehicles isn’t to ban them in a few small rural places but to persuade or remind enough voters that government interference with the economy is a misuse of government and has ultimately failed to deliver widespread prosperity every time it has been tried.

Instead, we see Red Wyoming morphing into Blue California’s Mini-Me.

Gus Van Horn is a scientist residing in Houston, Texas. He is the author of a popular pro-reason, pro-individual rights political and cultural blog.

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