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EDITORIAL: Electric vehicles run on natural gas

California’s electric vehicle push has increased the demand for natural gas. The global warming alarmists never mentioned that.

Most consumers still don’t want an electric vehicle. Despite heavy subsidies and mandates, just 6 percent of new vehicles sold last year were electric. Sales are increasing but remain behind many government and automaker goals.

Rather than let the market operate, the green movement wants the government to force people out of gasoline-powered vehicles. They argue this will reduce emissions and lower global temperatures.

But these efforts have yet to have any noticeable effect on the climate, although EV mandates have had more success. California is set to ban the sale of new cars with an internal combustion engine by 2035. Earlier, President Joe Biden’s EPA proposed a rule that will essentially require two-thirds of new vehicles to be electric by 2032.

Trading gas-powered cars for electric ones is supposed to eliminate carbon emissions. But most electric vehicle owners prefer to charge their vehicles at home. They plug in after returning for the evening and charge overnight. Energy isn’t produced by magic. Nor is it produced by solar once the sun goes down. States such as California and Nevada are largely relying on natural gas to produce needed power in the evenings and overnight.

In other words, natural gas power plants are often supplying the electricity fueling electric vehicles.

“It is clear by any objective measure that California is relying more on hope than a workable plan to transition to a green power grid,” a report by the Pacific Research Institute concluded in June. “California policymakers made an enormous mistake in their haste to push technologies that aren’t ready. … It is past time for the state to reassess its approach for addressing global climate change.”

This sleight of hand is typical of the debate over green energy. Politicians, including Mr. Biden, describe global warming in the most apocalyptic terms imaginable to create support for an overhaul of the entire U.S. economy. But they never mention all of the problems inherent in pushing these mandates well before green technology is capable of picking up the load.

Green activists promote electric vehicles, but they don’t mention that creating a lithium-ion battery for a “zero-emissions” car produces more initial emissions than a gasoline-powered vehicle. They don’t mention that fossil fuel plants provide the electricity used to mine the minerals that make those batteries. They don’t mention how often U.S. environmental groups block projects that would produce the minerals necessary to wean the nation off fossil fuels.

And in many cases, electric vehicle crusaders have succeeded only in substituting one form of fossil fuel use for another.

This commentary was originally published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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