United States Senator Chuck Schumer on Thursday submitted a bold plan to remove millions of gasoline-powered vehicles from the road and replace those with all-electric or hybrid new vehicles built in the U.S. As proposed, this would be a $454 million trade-in program to motivate Americans to trade in gasoline-powered vehicles, reminiscent of the 2009 Cash For Clunkers program, but on a much larger scale. The desired end game of this would be to have all clean vehicles on the highway by 2040.
In an October 24 opinion piece in the New York Times, Senator Schumer wrote, “How would the plan work? First, it would give you a large discount on an American-made electric vehicle when you trade in a gas-powered car. Lower-income Americans could get an even bigger discount on a new vehicle or a discount on a used electric vehicle. In total, these discounts should result in 63 million fewer gas-powered cars on the road by 2030 and put America on a path to having 100% of new car sales be clean.”
The proposed plan is being supported by environmentalists, car manufacturers, and the United Auto Workers Union.
The House Minority Leader thinks that the time is right and that Americans won’t have problems with the issues that shadow electric cars such as range anxiety and high prices. In a recent study by Volvo, 58% of drivers are concerned about range and availability of charging stations. Schumer does address this in his opinion piece, “This would be accomplished by providing grants to states and cities to build charging stations, with a particular emphasis on low-income, rural and other underserved communities.”
Furthermore, the Senator states another benefit of his plan, “The plan aims to establish the United States as the global leader in electric vehicle and battery manufacturing by providing grants to retool existing manufacturing plants in the United States and build new ones in this country that specialize in those technologies.”
The Senator does not address the environmental effects of manufacturing these batteries and lighter-weight materials to offset the weight of the batteries. A 2013 report from a group of MIT researchers calculated that global mining of two rare-earth metals, neodymium and dysprosium, would need to increase 700% and 2600%, respectively, over the next 25 years to keep pace with various green-tech plans.
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