Commentary by Levi Russell originally published by RealClearEnergy.org
The federal gov’t and silicon valley are looking to clamp down on your freedom of movement. Your ability to move about as you please does not fit with their goals for the future of our world. Automotive-related freedoms, including access to fuel, allow us to be free to move without the permission of silicon valley and the federal government. Automotive freedoms are not only hobby related; they are essential to preventing yet another step along the road to serfdom at the hands of woke corporations and federal bureaucrats.
Biden recently signed into law a requirement that all vehicles produced after 2026 be fitted with a remote kill switch. Electric vehicles are already equipped with this capability via internet-connected “superchargers.” These corporations can sell you a product for tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, then prevent you from using them. Worse yet, if the law is not challenged or repealed, these kill switches will have a “back door” that allows government agencies to shut your vehicle off remotely as well.
With conservatives slowly waking up to the reality that corporate managers are not on our side, this should be among our top concerns. Internal combustion vehicles, so far, are free of the sorts of nanny state controls that are standard on electric vehicles, so preserving our access to gasoline and diesel fuel is an absolute necessity
Right to repair is also an important issue. It is not, as some techno-authoritarians claim, a simple matter for tinkerers. Rather, it is a critical component of our ability to maintain freedom of movement. Right to repair ensures that we are able to hire independent professionals to repair our vehicles and other products rather than being forced to pay astronomical prices to manufacturers.
Now that the environmental superiority of electric vehicles is being called into question, the real agenda behind climate hysteria is clear: climate change fear mongers want us poorer and unable to travel and commute as we see fit. As the Biden administration’s intentional policy of high gas prices hits the average American in the pocket book, it’s important to note that the cost of EV batteries is also rising. Subsidized demand for these batteries has led to a massive increase in the prices of conflict minerals, such as lithium and cobalt, that make up these batteries.
There is no evidence that the actual cost of electric vehicles will be dramatically lower than those of internal combustion vehicles. Currently the average price of an electric vehicle is $56,000. What does this say about your ability to travel freely in the coming years if the federal government effectively bans our use of internal combustion vehicles?
Further, the left is turning a blind eye to the horrifying human rights record associated with cobalt and lithium mining. Child slavery, extremely poor working conditions, and poisoned rivers are just a few of the problems that plague the extraction of these minerals. One could reasonably ask the Biden administration why the American public is being forced to subsidize the horrifying human rights record associated with the mining of these resources.
Though the near-magical power of innovation is an article of faith for many, technological change does not always benefit the average person. There is nothing inevitable about these so-called innovations or the politically-driven subsidies that enable them. There is nothing inevitable about the burdens that this technological change will put on the average person. We need only have the courage of our convictions, combined with the backing of knowledgeable groups like the SEMA Action Network, to ensure that we are not forced to subsidize real environmental hazards, human rights abuses, and the restriction of our own freedom of movement.
Levi Russell is an assistant teaching professor at the University of Kansas’s Brandmeyer Center for Applied Economics.