Consumer Choice vs Government Coercion

This article by Phyllis Hunsinger first appeared in The Business Times, June 2022

Buying a car can be one of the most exciting large purchases made by consumers. Consumers research the designs, features, and the impact of costs related to meeting individual needs. Currently there appears to be a bewildering array of choices for the consumers; something for everyone it seems.

This situation is about to change if the executive order to follow the California Resources Board agenda signed by former Colorado Governor Hickenlooper in November 2018 is allowed to stand. California is the only state that may initiate their own vehicle emissions regulations. Sixteen other states, including Colorado, have willingly adopted the California Resources Board agenda to phase out and eventually ban the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles. So much for consumer choice.

The law of unintended consequences comes into full play here. Colorado has a different climate than California with different road conditions and vehicle needs. Can you picture electric heavy equipment needed to clear snow or boulders from roadways?

The article, “States Should Decouple from California’s Oppressive Emissions Policies,” by Mike Stenhouse on April 8, 2022, described the limitations to electric vehicles, not the least of which is the limited mileage range and the failure to perform well as the family or commercial workhorse vehicle.  More importantly, he said, vehicle prices will soar while passenger safety will plummet. Charging the electric vehicle requires many hours and the purchase and installation of a home charging station can amount to many thousands of dollars. Mr. Stenhouse also wrote that electric vehicles are approximately 23% more expensive to repair and insure as compared with internal combustion engine models, not to mention the significantly higher cost of replacing an electric vehicle battery. All of this makes an electric vehicle undesirable and too expensive for the average consumer. Desperately trying to coerce consumers to buy electric vehicles, the government offers significant subsidies; however, the electric vehicle is still too expensive and inappropriate for most consumers.

Harmful executive orders and legislation are enacted every year at the federal and state level. Many of the executive orders go unnoticed because they are too numerous to track. Hickenlooper’s executive order to embrace the California emissions regulations bypasses Colorado elected legislators who have a duty and responsibility to represent their own constituents in appropriate ways.

To add to California’s agenda, on April 1, 2022, the Biden administration regulators announced fuel efficiency requirements for cars, minivans, and light trucks of 49 mpg by 2026. As Stephen Moore said in his April 14th column for The Epoch Times, “The new rules won’t reduce pollution levels much because the higher fuel standards will raise the price of a new vehicle. To save money families will keep their older gas guzzlers on the road longer.” Moore also pointed out that the primary way to increase fuel efficiency is by building a lighter vehicle, which translates to more highway fatalities.

Executive orders and new regulations are an effort to change the behavior of consumers through coercion. The executive order deprives consumers of reliable, affordable vehicle choices. Free markets allow consumers to choose what kind of vehicle makes sense for them. Urge Colorado legislators to disengage from California’s power and control agenda and bring choice back to Colorado consumers.

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