Friday, July 15, 2022

Journalist Spends 30 Minutes Trying to Get Electric Car Charger to Work, Forced to Completely Give Up

Climate alarmists, including President Joe Biden, have been rabidly pushing electric vehicles as the solution for combating climate change and soaring gas prices, but they downplay the numerous ways EVs are inferior to gas-powered cars.

In addition to being expensive, electric cars can take a long time to recharge. Moreover, the charging process can be frustrating and arduous.

In a June 28 video posted by TFLEV, an EV-centric YouTube channel, a journalist spotlighted the difficulties he encountered while trying to recharge his 2023 Cadillac Lyriq.

The Lyriq, an all-electric SUV, is the cornerstone of Cadillac’s foray into the electric vehicle market.

“The Lyriq is the first EV to enter Cadillac’s lineup, which General Motors vows will be entirely electric by the end of the decade,” the Detroit Free Press said. “As a company, GM has said all its brands will be all-electric by 2035.”

However, in the painful 12-minute video, the journalist testing the Lyriq spent an hour searching for a fast-charging station in Park City, Utah.

Because there was none in Park City, he had to settle for a slower charger called EVgo.

However, that charger would not work. It also did not accept his payment method, and when he tried to download the app and do it that way, it didn’t work either.

While wasting 30 minutes trying to recharge his Lyriq, the tester received numerous error messages and was forced to re-enter his personal information several times.

“Get your act together, really. It shouldn’t be this hard,” the journalist lamented.

He’s right: It shouldn’t be that hard to charge an electric vehicle. After all, it usually only takes a few minutes to fill up your car at a gas station.

As a reminder, those who are able to find EV charging stations often encounter long lines.


SCOTUS, Statutory Delegation and the EPA

Somewhat lost in the excitement surrounding Dobbs (no fundamental right to abortion), Bruen (right to carry a firearm outside the home), and Kennedy (coach’s midfield prayer was not an establishment of religion) was the decision in West Virginia v. EPA. The MSM went into apoplexy over the Court’s latest ruling on the power of the Administrative State. CNN’s headline squawked that “Supreme Court curbs EPA’s ability to fight climate change.” Such alarmism is uncalled for.

The Clean Air Act permits the EPA to regulate power plants by setting a “standard of performance” that must reflect the “best system of emission reduction” that the EPA has determined to be “adequately demonstrated” for a particular category. Since the passage of the Clean Air Act, the EPA has set performance standards to reduce pollution by requiring plants to operate more cleanly. The nation’s coal plants were operating at near optimum efficiency. So in 2015, the EPA sought to require coal plants to reduce energy production or to subsidize an increase in wind, solar, or natural gas production.

The EPA sought by 2030 to have coal provide 27 percent of national electricity, down from 38 percent in 2014. The EPA estimated that the new requirement on coal plants would entail billions of dollars in compliance costs, the shut down of many of the plants, and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.

The question in West Virginia v. EPA was whether Congress had delegated to the agency the sweeping authority to decide how much energy production coal should contribute to the national economy. To determine this, the Court invoked the major question doctrine, which requires a clear showing that Congress intended to confer broad authority in an area of substantial economic and political significance. The presumption is that Congress intends to make major policy decisions itself and not leave such matters to administrative agencies.

The Court noted that on several occasions, Congress had refused to pass legislation to amend the Clean Air Act to provide the agency with sweeping authority to pass such regulations. The Court noted that capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level to force a transition from the use of coal to other energy sources might be a wise policy, but the statute before it could not be interpreted to allow such a broad scheme. The Court observed that it was “highly unlikely that Congress would leave to agency discretion the decision of how much coal-based generation there should be over the coming decades.” (Slip Op. at 25).

Suppose Congress wants the EPA to have such power. In that case, all it has to do is pass a statute clearly charging the agency with the power to shut down coal plants and to target a specific amount of coal-generated electricity. This is appropriate since Congress is elected and accountable to the people. In a Republic, elected officials should make these decisions—not a managerial class of “experts” who are unelected and have no accountability to the people. This case demonstrates the dangers of the Administrative State and why James Burnham—as far back as the 1940s–noticed that sovereignty was slipping away from legislatures and was being claimed by various administrative agencies.


Germany’s Nuclear-Power Implosion

Europe’s climate obsessions have led to an energy crisis, and who would have thought the Germans would choose to make it worse. That’s what happened last Thursday when the Bundestag voted to shut down the country’s remaining nuclear power plants by the end of the year.

Lawmakers, mainly from the Social Democratic and Green parties in the ruling coalition, nixed an effort to extend the lives of three nuclear reactors. Those are the last three standing after former Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision in 2011 to phase out nuclear power. Killing them has become an article of faith for Germany’s eco-left even as Ms. Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Party (CDU) has thought better of the policy after her retirement. The CDU sponsored the pro-nuclear resolution that was defeated 249-393.

This is the same Germany that’s in the grip of an energy crisis threatening to cripple Europe’s largest economy this winter. The paramount challenge is replacing energy imports from Russia, which supplied more than half of the natural gas Germany consumed before Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Berlin is belatedly discovering that dependence on its own unreliable renewable energy and Russia for fossil fuels is a strategic vulnerability. As if to emphasize the point, Nord Stream 1, Russia’s direct gas pipeline to Germany, shut down for “maintenance” on Monday, or so owner Gazprom says.

Nuclear power, which still accounts for 6% of German electricity, sure would help. The country needs alternative fuels for electricity generation to divert reduced gas supplies to industry. Germany will depend on natural gas for the foreseeable future for industrial uses.

Economy-and-Climate Minister Robert Habeck and his Green colleagues hope an accelerated build-out of renewables will do the trick, but those only work when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining. The country also is far behind in building the transmission lines to carry this power from the places with the right weather to the spots with the factories and homes that need power.

Since gas is less available, renewables are less reliable, and nuclear remains undesirable, that leaves coal. The same environmentalist lawmakers who eschewed nuclear last week gave their blessing to a ramp-up in coal-fired power production.

The hope may be that renewables (and the battery technology to make them suitable for an industrial economy) will develop quickly enough to make this a moot point soon. But that’s only a hope. It’s more likely that coal will be needed for years as Berlin abandons the nuclear investment and know-how that could have served Germany for years to come.

The big lesson from this year’s energy crisis is that Europe’s vulnerabilities were a choice, not an inevitability. Rather than learning from that mistake, German politicians have chosen to repeat it.


Federalism Is The Key To Demonstrating The Disaster Of Green Central Planning

Central planning always fails, but the utopian visionaries implementing the plans cannot admit that they are at fault. A scapegoat must be found. As a leading example, when Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s collectivization of agriculture led to mass starvation, the official blame was placed on “saboteurs” and “wreckers.”

Our current-day analog is the centrally-planned replacement of our very large, inexpensive and highly functional energy system, mostly based on fossil fuels, with the alternatives of intermittent wind and sun-based generation, as favored by incompetent government regulators who don’t understand how these things work or how much they will cost. Prices of energy to the consumer — from electricity to gasoline — are soaring; and reliability of supply is widely threatened.

All of which brings our President forth to blame the current price and supply issues in the energy markets on anything but his own administration’s intentional efforts to suppress the functional fossil fuel energy. One day the scapegoat is Vladimir Putin; another it is “companies running gas stations,” who stand accused of price gouging.

Unfortunately, a wide swath of the electorate is only too ready to believe that the failure of central planning is correctly blamed on the saboteurs or the wreckers or the price gougers or the Rooskies or whoever, rather than on the incompetent central planners. And the central planners can generally maintain their narrative, as long as they can impose their control widely enough to keep their subjects from becoming aware of successful alternatives.

And thus the maintenance of federalism in energy policy is crucial to avoiding the disaster of green energy central planning. And it is why the recent Supreme Court decision of West Virginia v. EPA is so important in the ongoing energy battles. West Virginia v. EPA struck down a centralized federal effort to dictate the structure of the electricity generation system nationwide, on the ground that the Congress had not explicitly authorized such a sweeping exercise of authority by an executive agency.

With federalism in energy policy, we can have New York forging ahead with its “Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act,” and California doing the same with its SB 100 — both of them seeking to eliminate fossil fuels from the generation of electricity, and then to force all energy consumers to use only electricity for their supply. Will that work? If New York and California are successful, they will be a model for the rest of the country to follow. Congratulations will be in order. If they fail relative to other states — that is, if they see energy prices soar, or frequent blackouts or shortages of needed energy — then it will be obvious to all that it was the green energy that failed, and not that there were “saboteurs” or “wreckers” or “price gougers,” who after all could have attacked the other states as well.

The federal bureaucracies will do everything they can to force all the states into a federal energy straightjacket, so that the (inevitable) failures of green energy cannot be blamed on the perpetrators. In Friday’s post I took note of two new federal initiatives, post-West Virginia, to seek national suppression of fossil fuels, one by imposing “ozone” emission limitations in Texas, and the other by declining to conduct offshore leasing auctions.

Yet another such initiative was announced on Thursday July 7: a so-called “Transportation Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Framework” from the Federal Highway Administration. This one takes administrative audacity to a whole new level. Under the proposed rule, states must set declining greenhouse gas emissions targets for highway traffic that must align with the Net-Zero target as directed by the President in two Executive Orders and agreed at the international “Leaders Summit on Climate.” The federal Net Zero targets have not been enacted or authorized by Congress in any way, and exist only by virtue of a press release issued by President Biden on April 22, 2021. In other words, the administration and the FHA are thumbing their noses at the Supreme Court’s West Virginia decision.

Fortunately, the red states are not just going along with this kind of thing any more. This will be a critical battleground over the next five to ten years. I’m betting on victory for the red states, and the cratering of green energy.




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