January 19, 2024

Senator Ricketts’ Weekly Column: Biden’s EV Mandate Not Workable in Nebraska

January 19, 2024

This month, Nebraska was hit by bitter winter storms. A combination of subzero temperatures, snow, and high winds led to roads being closed across our state. As always in times like this, Nebraskans stepped up to help. I’m grateful for the grit and service of our first responders – the snow plow drivers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other emergency personnel – who braved the arctic blast to keep people safe.

The Nebraska State Patrol helped over 1,400 stranded drivers in one week. Medical staffs treated numerous frostbite injuries. Communities opened warming stations and shelters to protect vulnerable people. Farmers and ranchers continued their work to protect our food production. Each person who stepped up to help earned our appreciation. Each of them represents the best of our state.

Storms like this often provide lessons about ways government can improve. Sometimes, those lessons take time to identify. This storm, however, provided one very powerful lesson which I hope the Biden administration will learn. Biden’s attempt to use mandates to make two-thirds of all new cars and trucks electric by 2032 is a dumb idea.

The EPA’s burdensome electric vehicle (EV) mandate doesn’t make sense for the Midwest. In news that will surprise very few Nebraskans, EVs proved to be unreliable in cold weather. As FOX 32 in Chicago reported, “public charging stations have turned into car graveyards over the past couple of days.” The story described “dozens of EV owners trying desperately to power their cars at the supercharging station in Oak Brook. It was a scene mirrored with long lines and abandoned cars at scores of other charging stations around the Chicago area.” A different driver quoted in the story called the EVs “dead robots.”

“Car graveyards” and “dead robots” are not the future we want. If Chicago, an area with a lot of EV charging stations, can turn into a car graveyard what will happen in more rural areas with fewer chargers? President Biden’s own Department of Energy map shows no EV chargers on a 244-mile stretch of highways between Broken Bow and Scottsbluff. Many Nebraskans live more than an hour away from the nearest charging station.

Nebraska is the Beef State. Agriculture is the heart and soul of what we do. Electric trucks are not practical when you’re hauling livestock. You can’t just pull over on the side of the road for two hours when you’re hauling a truckload of cattle in zero-degree temperatures. Add to that a situation where your EV batteries get too cold to charge and you realize just how unworkable this mandate is. Imagine EV ambulances breaking down on their way to rural hospitals. Imagine EV busses breaking down on their way to connecting people with their jobs. These are very real considerations in a state like Nebraska.

I will continue reminding the Biden EPA of what will happen if they do not reverse course. Nebraskans tell me over and over that Washington, D.C. bureaucrats have no idea how their policies will impact the rest of America. And they’re right. If we’re going to set national standards, they must be workable in every state. These major winter storms are a powerful reminder that, at least right now, EVs don’t have the range and performance needed in cold weather. This is particularly true in rural, Midwestern states like Nebraska.

Imposing an EV mandate on Nebraska is unworkable, foolish, and wrong. Biden’s EPA needs to reconsider. Until that happens, I will continue fighting this here in the Senate with every tool I have. 

My team and I are here to serve you. Contact us anytime by phone at 202-224-4224 or on my website at www.ricketts.senate.gov/contact.

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