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California Soaked In EVs – Pacific Research Institute

California Soaked In EVs

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During the just-ended first quarter, 102,507 new light-duty zero-emission vehicles were sold in California. That was 23.9% of all automobile sales. Fourth-quarter 2023 ZEV sales totaled 103,127 – 24.7% of all sales.

As status symbols go, an electric vehicle is a cheap and easy statement  for the well-off in California. There are about 28 EV registrations for every 1,000 residents, says Inside EVs, almost twice as many as the next state, Hawaii, where there are almost 16 per 1,000. But maybe the Golden State has a limit on exhibitionism. EV sales had fallen for three straight quarters.

During the just-ended first quarter, 102,507 new light-duty zero-emission vehicles were sold in California. That was 23.9% of all automobile sales. Fourth-quarter 2023 ZEV sales totaled 103,127 – 24.7% of all sales.

The California Energy Commission, which recently released the latest data, is keeping the narrative alive in the face of a less-than-enthusiastic market.

“The EV transition is in full swing with nearly one in four California car shoppers choosing to go electric over the last year resulting in record sales,” said CEC Chair David Hochschild. “This is good news for all Californians as our success delivers cleaner air statewide and drives significant investment in our emerging zero-emission vehicle industry.”

That last sentence could use some Fisking, especially the claim about delivering cleaner air, but for now let’s focus on the happy talk. Politico reports that all is not as well as the EV-ZEV cult would like us to believe it is.

“Auto market analysts say California has largely exhausted its demand among early adopters and is moving into a new phase of market development where it needs to win over everyday consumers in order to meet its target of transitioning to all zero-emission new-car sales by 2035.”

That’s going to be a steep climb. The news cycle is continually brimming with stories that indicate the public is getting its fill of EVs. There’s even some backbone on Capitol Hill in Washington, where lawmakers are ​​pushing to block President Joe Biden’s EV mandates.

“Congress is finally fighting back against this assault on auto choice,” says the Committee to Unleash Prosperity.

“The Senate recently had its first vote on the Biden EPA mandates, with Democrats Joe Manchin, Jon Tester, and Sherrod Brown (the latter two running for their political lives and earning a free pass from their green group friends) joining all Republicans to vote to save gas cars.”

Of course energy author Robert Bryce is always ready with the vital numbers and observations.

“Ford’s electric vehicle business is gaining speed on the highway to hell,” he recently wrote. The company’s first quarter financials showed that it has “lost more money in its EV segment than it made in net profit over its entire business.”

Ford cranked out $1.3 billion in profit in the first three months of this year on $43 billion in revenue. “But,” says Bryce, “it took an operating loss of $1.32 billion on its Model e business.”

Odd though it might seem, government “journalists” have noticed the EV burnout.

Bad headlines for electric vehicles have been piling up lately,” National Public Radio reported in February.And the headline on the story?

“EVs won over early adopters, but mainstream buyers aren’t along for the ride yet.”

EVs are like any other trendy item. When only a few have them, their “coolness factor” is high. (The EV rage has actually been a turnoff for many, but that’s yet another story for another day.) However, hip items tend to lose their cachet as they proliferate. That seems to be the case even in always-looking-for-the-next-rage California.

Kerry Jackson is the William Clement Fellow in California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.

 

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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