John Kennedy Stumps Witness On Why Government Has To Pay People To Drive EVs

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John Kennedy, a Republican Louisiana senator, questioned a testimony on Thursday about why the government must incentivize Americans who buy electric cars if they are so “great.”

Abigail Ross Hopper, the President and CEO for the Solar Energy Industries Association, testified at the Senate Committee on the Budget’s hearing on Thursday about the Inflation Reduction Act. She also spoke of the “significant investments” made in the clean energy industry.

Kennedy asked about electric vehicle demand during the hearing.

“Ms. Hopper, you know I love solar power, so I want to let you know. I also love electric cars. But I have a question for you, one I’ve been putting off. “If electric cars are such a great thing, why does the government have to pay for people to drive them?”

Hopper started to speak before Kennedy joined in. “So, I think that most government policies, right, are in place to encourage certain behaviors. So, there’s a part of the policy if we want to see more electric cars.”

“Yeah, but if these cars are so great, why can’t people choose electric cars in a market that is competitive, you know? Why wouldn’t the people choose them over cars with internal combustion engines?” Why should we pay people to drive these cars?

Hopper stated, “I would not characterize this as paying people for them to drive.”

“Well, we’re sure doing it!” Kennedy said, “We’re giving them an enormous tax credit.”

“I would describe it as a government policy that encourages more electric vehicle purchases.”

The Biden Administration has created a $7.500 tax credit for consumers for a new, stricter battery-sourcing regulation that is a result of the Inflation Reduction Act. However, only eight electric cars and two plug-in-hybrids are eligible for the credit.

The program is estimated to cost $136 billion in the next 10 year.