The movie “Back to the Future Part II” famously predicted we would be driving flying cars by 2015. We’re still driving on roads, but there is no question the automobile industry is evolving and changing how we move around. Today’s vehicles are more reliable and fuel efficient. It’s important they continue to be affordable even as more technology gets integrated. I’m championing initiatives to make that a reality well into the future.
Significant investments have been made into the development of electric vehicles (EVs) and the infrastructure to support them. These innovations hold a lot of promise, and enthusiasm among consumers is rising.
Arkansas is blessed with a rich supply of lithium, a key component of EV batteries. I’m proud to support businesses growing their footprint in southeast Arkansas to produce this mineral. Increased production will support quality jobs, energize the local economy and benefit our entire state.
Arkansas Tech University recently announced an update to its curriculum to better meet this emerging industry’s needs. Students will soon be able to earn a bachelor of science degree in geosciences with an aim of working on the discovery and extraction of critical elements like lithium.
Finding American lithium resources is crucial to reducing our dependence on China since it largely controls the existing supply chain.
Made in America must be part of our strategy. Weeks ago, President Biden vetoed a measure passed by Congress requiring federally funded EV chargers to be made in the U.S. I look forward to supporting this resolution on the Senate floor again and hopefully overriding the veto.
This is one of many troubling policies adopted by the Biden administration that have the potential to drive up costs – making transportation more expensive – and limit choices available to Arkansas families.
Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new, strict emissions standards on American-made vehicles designed to force our nation’s automakers and consumers to transition to electric cars. The EPA projects that as a result, more than two-thirds of all new vehicles will be electric by 2032. Considering the average EV is over $17,000 more than a gas-powered vehicle, the consequences of this mandate could be dire for many Arkansans.
The bottom line is decisions about the type of vehicle drivers should buy must come from consumers – not Washington bureaucrats.
That’s why I’m championing the Choice in Automobile Retail Sales (CARS) Act. This legislation will rein in the executive overreach by prohibiting the EPA from moving forward with this rule or any future directive that would limit availability of new vehicles based on engine type.
Unfortunately, this action isn’t limited to the EPA. We’re seeing other agencies overstep their authority in EV rulemaking.
I recently joined congressional colleagues in sending a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration calling for the withdrawal of its proposal that would effectively mandate the mass production of EVs and a phase out of gas-powered cars and trucks.
While we applaud the forward thinking of automakers to deliver new methods to power vehicles, it’s absurd for the government to dictate what cars and trucks Americans can drive.
I look forward to working with my colleagues to support policies that reduce our dependence on foreign oil, gas and minerals and advocating for empowering consumers to make decisions based on their transportation needs instead of an ideal that is both impractical and potentially unaffordable.