Consumers better served by free market choices, not government coercion

Phyllis Hunsinger

Buying a car can be one of the most exciting large purchases consumers make. Consumers research designs, features and costs to meet their needs. There’s an array of choices — something for everyone, it seems.

The situation could change, though, if the executive order to follow the California Resources Board agenda signed by former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper in November 2018 is allowed to stand. California is the only state that may initiate its own vehicle emissions regulations. But 16 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 equipment clearing boulders or snow from roadways?

Mike Stenhouse wrote an article titled  “States Should Decouple from California’s Oppressive Emissions Policies” that described the limitations to electric vehicles, not the least of which are range and the failure to perform well as family and commercial workhorse vehicles.  More importantly, Stenhouse wrote, vehicle prices will soar while passenger safety will plummet. Charging electric vehicles requires many hours and the purchase and installation of a home charging station costs thousands of dollars. According to Stenhouse, electric vehicles are approximately 23 percent more expensive to repair and insure 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. 

Trying desperately to coerce consumers to buy electric vehicles, the government offers significant subsidies. Still, electric vehicles are too expensive and inappropriate for most consumers.

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

To add to California’s agenda, on April 1, Biden administration regulators announced fuel efficiency requirements for cars, minivans and light trucks of 49 miles per gallon by 2026. As Stephen Moore wrote in a 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 the primary way to increase fuel efficiency is to build lighter vehicles, which translates to more highway fatalities. 

Executive orders and new regulations constitute an effort to change consumer behavior through coercion and deprive consumers of reliable, affordable vehicle choices. 

Free markets allow consumers to choose what kinds of vehicles make sense for them. Urge Colorado legislators to disengage from California’s power and control agenda and bring choice back to consumers.