The state of Maine was recently scheduled to vote on regulations aimed at limiting the sale of gas-powered vehicles. However, an unexpected event caused the vote on the proposal to be stopped dead in its tracks. Heavy storms across the state led to widespread power outages, leading regulators to second-guess the measure.
The Maine Board of Environmental Protection was set to finalize a vote on the proposal to mandate that 43% of all vehicles sold in the state by 2027 be electric or plug-in hybrid. The rule would further require this figure to reach 80% by 2032. Following the series of adverse weather, Maine Governor Janet Mills declared a state of emergency, where the vote on the proposal was postponed until February.
While the EV regulation appears to hold a majority of support from the board, the move has received stark pushback from car dealers and conservative politicians. For example, Maine Rep. Jared Golden has denounced the “California-style” regulations that would impact consumers and car dealerships.
“The Maine Board of Environmental Protection will vote on proposed rules that would establish a California-style set of mandates forcing Maine auto dealers – and ultimately their customers – to purchase zero emission vehicles,” Golden said.
California has been a leader in imposing EV regulations, whereas other blue states have followed their path. In August, Gavin Newsom’s California approved a rule banning the sales of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035, whereas dozens of other U.S. states have agreed to adopt all or at least part of the regulation.
Golden elaborated on his opposition to the EV mandates, explaining that forcing the mass adoption of these cars would lead to a number of issues due to the underdeveloped infrastructure surrounding them. The representative cites a lack of charging infrastructure and an insufficient power grid that would make these vehicles much less reliable than a traditional gas-powered combustion engine. The lawmaker also pointed out that unpredictable weather events, such as the recent storms that caused power outages, could render the EVs useless.
“Earlier this year, I submitted testimony in opposition to such a mandate and have taken every opportunity in Congress to vote against policy that amounts to de facto electric vehicle mandates. Forcing Mainers to purchase cars and trucks powered by electricity when our grid is insufficient, charging stations are few and far between, and a storm like yesterday’s would render 80% of cars useless is, to say the least, ill-advised. As I wrote in my testimony, keeping Maine’s environment healthy is a goal we all share, but it’s one that demands thoughtful, place-based policy-making – not the broad-stroke application of a California law that would place an undue burden on hard-working Mainers,” he said .
If one thing is clear, American consumers and auto dealers are not fans of these government regulations which infringe upon the free market. Thousands of car dealers from around the nation wrote an open letter to Joe Biden, pleading with him to pull back on the Democrat EV agenda. Apparently, prospective car buyers are not showing an interest in EVs, leading to an oversupply of the vehicles ending up on car lots.
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