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Electric Vehicles Won't Stop the Climate Catastrophe

Lee Palmer

EVs are a gift to the industrial capitalists who run Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis: they keep the assembly lines rolling and the revenues flowing. With consumers holding on to their cars longer and longer, a new market segment is necessary to stimulate sales. EVs also make private vehicle ownership palatable to a segment of consumers in the U.S. and abroad who are troubled by dirty internal combustion engines (even though tire and brake pad wear more negatively impact public health than tailpipe emissions). The writing is on the wall: go electric or go out of business. The auto manufacturers are adapting. By 2024, EV models available in the U.S. are expected to double to 134. Georgia’s Republican Governor, Brian Kemp, has burnished his image by touting the economic windfall that EVs represent while excluding their climate benefits (which are modest for electric F-150s when compared to a sedan).
Transportation by rail, bus, and train has traditionally been a stronghold of organized labor in the United States. The credible threat posed by the railroad strike wave of 1944-45 resulted in the Taft-Hartley Act, which dramatically curtailed the legal rights of railroad workers to strike. These workplaces are centralized into depots, garages, and yards where vehicles are mustered, cleaned, repaired, and dispatched. Quashing organizing in these workplaces is thereby more difficult than in more decentralized workplaces (except where enabled by anti-union laws and chummy union bureaucrats). Furthermore, there is no gig economy model for mass transit: it’s practically impossible.