It looks like electric vehicle adoption is about to hit the wall

America has elected Donald J. Trump as the next President of the United States, and that’s not good news for advocates of electric vehicles and stricter emissions standards. While it’s uncertain exactly what steps the Trump Administration will take in terms of energy policy and carbon emissions regulation, there are a few generalities pointing the way, and it’s looking like less government support for EVs and fewer restrictions on emissions are both in the cards.

In an article published last month, Cheat Sheet laid out three predictions for the fate of electric cars under a Trump presidency. The first is a lapse in the $7,500 federal tax incentive currently in place for qualified plug-in vehicles. EVs are already considered quite pricey compared to equivalent internal combustion-powered models, and without the $7,500 tax credit, it’s likely sales of these cars will plummet.

The second prediction is for lower standards when it comes to fuel economy, as well as a weaker EPA, both of which are moves that would free up automakers to produce more gas-guzzlers without the counterbalance of zero- or low-emission models.

In 2012, the Obama administration issued revisions to the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program, setting the bar for average fuel economy at 54.5 mpg by the year 2025. With Trump as president, it’s highly likely those standards will be significantly relaxed.

Finally, Cheat Sheet predicts a Trump presidency as a boon for oil companies, especially those that saw fit to fund his campaign. Specifics are still up in the air, but looser regulation is more or less a certainty.

Long story short, electric vehicle production and emissions standards will probably see some serious readjustment in the near future.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

Automakers have long voiced their concerns over increasingly stringent emissions standards, asking for more easily attainable goals and fewer restrictions on the fuel economy of the cars they produce. Now, with Trump headed towards the White House, it looks like the makes will get their wish.

“The Trump Administration will complete a comprehensive review of all federal regulations,” reports The Wall Street Journal, quoting Trump senior policy adviser John Mashburn. “This includes a review of the fuel economy and emissions standards to make sure they are not harming consumers or American workers.”

He added, “It is important to remember this particular program was first put in place as a way to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, not for purposes of global warming regulation. Mr. Trump will be focused on bringing jobs, including auto manufacturing, back to the U.S., and making sure that government policies are in the national interest.”

This shift coincides with continued public demand for larger, low-mpg crossover models. Many makes have been busy exploring hybrid power as a means to get around the inherently less efficient body style, but with relaxed emissions and mileage standards, hybrid development could see a major slowdown.

The same goes for all-electric vehicles. Frequently touted as an effective measure to combat climate change, EVs could very well see the axe under a Trump presidency. After all, Mr. Trump has been quite outspoken in his views on climate change, saying moves to curb carbon have only resulted in harming U.S. workers.

As such, the recent Paris Agreement could be in danger, although the U.S. is locked in for four years before an exit is possible. That means Trump would need a second term before the U.S. could opt out.

Still, EVs are very much in danger under a Trump presidency. Without monetary incentives in the form of federal tax credits, plus less regulation and lowered emissions standards, the impetus to buy and build all-electrics will likely disappear.

Source: Cheat Sheet

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