Wyoming lawmakers introduced a resolution to ban new electric car sales in the state by 2035.
The joint resolution argues that the “oil and gas industry in Wyoming has created countless jobs” and says internal combustion vehicles have “enabled the state’s industries and businesses to engage in commerce and transport goods and resources more efficiently throughout the country” since their invention. Environmental concerns regarding the procurement of minerals for vehicle batteries are another primary concern of the resolution.
“The expansion of electric vehicle charging stations in Wyoming and throughout the country necessary to support more electric vehicles will require massive amounts of new power generation in order to sustain the misadventure of electric vehicles,” the resolution continues. “The proliferation of electric vehicles at the expense of gas-powered vehicles will have deleterious impacts on Wyoming’s communities and will be detrimental to Wyoming’s economy and the ability for the country to efficiently engage in commerce.”
State Sen. Ed Cooper (R-WY), a sponsor of the resolution, said in an interview with The Hill that the proposal was intended to start a nationwide conversation about the absurdity of phasing out gas-powered cars and clarified that he does not support an actual ban on electric alternatives. “I think the thought of an electric vehicle ban is truly completely ludicrous, but it’s no more ludicrous than a ban on gasoline powered vehicles,” he told the outlet.
California, Massachusetts, Washington, and Virginia are following new rules from the California Air Resources Board requiring 35% of new vehicles to produce zero emissions by 2026, a standard that will progressively rise to 100% by 2035. The decision came days before a heatwave forced officials in California to ask residents to refrain from charging their electric vehicles in the interest of protecting the state’s power grid.
Experts have warned that the California power system will require significant upgrades before a rapid transition away from internal combustion vehicles occurs.
“Today, most people charge their electric cars when they come home in the evening,” according to a report from Cornell University. “If left unmanaged, the power demanded from many electric vehicles charging simultaneously in the evening will amplify existing peak loads, potentially outstripping the grid’s current capacity to meet demand.”
The Wyoming resolution also noted that “the batteries used in electric vehicles contain critical minerals whose domestic supply is limited and at risk for disruption.”
China controls some 97% of rare earth element production, according to a report from the Foreign Policy Research Institute, presenting serious national security concerns as policymakers advocate for increased reliance on electric vehicles. China also accounts for 70% of global electric vehicle battery production capacity, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service, which noted that the United States is “heavily dependent” on mineral imports.
Biden administration officials are nevertheless encouraging a nationwide transition away from internal combustion vehicles. The White House has set the “ambitious target” of ensuring that electric vehicles constitute 50% of car sales in the United States by 2030.
The recent Inflation Reduction Act accordingly greenlit electric vehicle tax credits of $7,500 for new cars and $4,000 for used cars, as well as 30% tax credits for home solar energy systems, according to a fact sheet. The White House has established the goal of procuring only 100% zero-emission light-duty vehicles by 2027 and will extend the same standard to all vehicles in the federal fleet by 2035, according to another document from the White House.