Stephen Moore: Hey Joe — where are all the EV charging stations? (2024)

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

Stephen Moore: Hey Joe — where are all the EV charging stations? (1)The Biden administration has spent tens of billions of dollars on green energy, yet last year the U.S. and the world used record amounts of fossil fuels.

That would seem to be prima facie evidence that this “great transition” to renewable energy has so far been an expensive policy belly flop.

The evidence is everywhere. Americans aren’t buying electric vehicles any more than they were before President Joe Biden was elected. Even with record federal subsidies, car companies are losing billions of dollars making EVs that people don’t want. Wind and solar still account for less than 10% of American energy, and across the country hundreds of communities are saying “not in my backyard” to ugly, spacious solar and wind farms. And of course, electric bills and gas prices at the pump are 30% to 50% higher, even though we were promised the green revolution would save us money.

A case in point is the scandalous mismanagement of green energy implementation. Consider the $7.5 billion federal program stuck inside the 2021 infrastructure bill — a law that Biden touts as one of his great achievements. That bill promised half a million EV charging stations installed all over the country.

Instead, there have been a grand total of — drum roll, please — “seven or eight installed.” To be fair, that was through last month. They might be up to nine now.

When Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was confronted recently on CBS’s “Face the Nation” about what happened with all the money, he hemmed and hawed and replied: “In order to do a charger, it’s more than just plunking a small device into the ground. There’s utility work, and this is also, really, a new category of federal investment.”

Uh huh! Sure. Installing an electric charger for a Tesla in your garage is very complicated business. It’s like trying to build the Taj Mahal (which may not have cost $7.5 billion).

Here’s another mystery. Why can’t Pete give us an exact count on the progress when the number is small enough to use his fingers? At this pace, they may get 500 built by 2030 — not the 500,000 promised.

Thank God our celebrated transportation secretary, renowned for riding his bike to his Washington office, wasn’t in charge of the Normandy landing.

Then there is the question of where the $7.5 billion of taxpayer money has actually gone. At the current production rate, the final program’s price could inflate to more than $1 trillion.

If Donald Trump were president, he’d have long ago summoned Mayor Pete to the Oval Office and greeted him with those two words that made him famous: “YOU’RE FIRED.”

Instead, many Democrats are quietly talking about throwing Biden off the ticket, and one of the frontrunners to take his place is none other than the highly accomplished Buttigieg.

But there are some serious lessons to be learned from this monumental screwup.

First, though Biden loves to chat up how much money the government is “investing,” where are the signs that any of these borrowed trillions of dollars have improved our lives? This EV charger scandal is just another reminder that the government generally doesn’t “invest” tax dollars — it mostly wastes them.

Second, competence matters. At the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, we released a study finding that more than 90% of Biden’s top economic and finance team has NO experience running a business. We have an energy secretary who knows nothing about energy and a transportation secretary who knows nothing about transportation. They are lawyers, academics, politicians or government employees.

They are not bad people. They just don’t know how to run anything — and it shows.

Finally, why do we need the government to build EV charging stations? One hundred years ago, the government didn’t build gas stations. They just magically sprouted up all over the roads that criss-cross America, because entrepreneurs responded to the demand. Two or three brothers would scrap together some cash, buy a small plot of land on I-66, build a service station with four to eight hoses connected to a tank, put up a tall sign posting the gas price, and drivers would pull in and fill ‘er up.

All this “infrastructure” without a single penny or instruction manual from Washington.

Can you imagine if Biden had been president in the 1920s and proclaimed the government would build 500,000 gas stations? They still wouldn’t be built, and we’d all be waiting in long lines.

Stephen Moore is a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a senior economic advisor to Donald Trump. His latest book is: “Govzilla: How the Relentless Growth of Government Is Devouring Our Economy.”


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Stephen Moore

Stephen­ Moore is an economics journalist, author, and columnist who served as the senior economics writer for the Wall Street Journal editorial page and as member of the Journal's editorial board.

Latest posts by Stephen Moore (see all)

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Stephen Moore: Hey Joe — where are all the EV charging stations? (2024)


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