A group of Wyoming state lawmakers want to end electric vehicle sales in the state by 2035. The measure, introduced to the state legislature, was sponsored by six state legislators, who said that electric vehicles will hinder Wyoming’s ability to trade with other states. According to the Bill, “The proliferation of electric vehicles at the expense of gas-powered vehicles will have deleterious impacts on Wyoming’s communities and will be detrimental to Wyoming’s economy and the ability for the country to efficiently engage in commerce.” The legislation states that adding new power charging stations would require “massive” amounts of new power to “sustain the misadventure of electric vehicles.” Wyoming citizens and industries would be encouraged not to purchase electric vehicles before the ban goes into effect.
Further, Wyoming said no to President Biden’s offer for millions of federal dollars to build electric chargers. “Wyoming has no desire to establish infrastructure that will likely fail,” the state said in its plan for how to spend EV-charging dollars from the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law. The conflict is because of the federal government’s strict rules over how frequent high-power stations should be positioned along the nation’s interstate highways. According to the Biden administration, the plugs should be installed every 50 highway miles, no matter how remote the site is. Wyoming doubts whether EVs will come in sufficient numbers to justify the huge expense of building and maintaining a powerful charging station in the middle of a forest or prairie.
In comments to the federal government last year, Wyoming was joined by Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota in saying the program would be “hard to implement in rural states” if the Biden administration did “not implement the provisions with flexibility.” It is hard to make the case for electric vehicles in any rural area, because people drive long distances and often pull trailers — two habits that drain an EV’s battery especially fast—as well as enduring bitterly cold winters.
Wyoming provided an alternative: to fund chargers on the smaller highways that serve its tourist areas, like Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park — routes that see a lot more EV traffic than the interstates do. Despite this approach being supported by the National Park Service, the Biden administration said no. The Biden administration insists it must first build out deluxe charging stations on major highways. With the Biden Administration, states are left with a “my way or no highway” approach.
California’s Gasoline Car Ban
Wyoming lawmakers may be making the right decision as California’s ban on gasoline-powered vehicles in 2035 is expected to double that state’s electricity demand. California is heavily into intermittent renewable energy, has shuttered its coal plants, has only two nuclear reactors left that were to close in the upcoming years, and is otherwise dependent on natural gas and imports from neighboring states, which at times has proven to be ineffective during heat waves affecting those states. California has already had to use rolling blackouts without the doubling of electricity demand expected once the gasoline car ban goes into effect. And in September, Governor Newsom warned EV drivers not to charge their cars when solar power begins to wane in late afternoon.
As is often the case with other regulations passed by California, its gasoline car ban is likely to affect the automotive industry nationwide, which is concerning the six Wyoming lawmakers that co-sponsored the bill. The Wyoming bill outlines a list of reasons against electric vehicles, and in support of gas-powered vehicles:
“Since its invention, the gas-powered vehicle has enabled the state’s industries and businesses to engage in commerce and transport goods and resources more efficiently throughout the country,” the bill says in its preamble. “Wyoming’s vast stretches of highway, coupled with a lack of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, make the widespread use of electric vehicles impracticable for the state.” Discontinuing sales of electric vehicles, it continues, “will ensure the stability of Wyoming’s oil and gas industry and will help preserve the country’s critical minerals for vital purposes.”
Canada’s Energy Transition
Wyoming is further justified as news of the cost of Canada’s energy transition has come to fruition. A government report shows that the federal plan will cause upheaval nearly everywhere in Canada, not just in oil and gas provinces. Further, special skills will be required for most green workers, except, for example, janitors and drivers. Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau’s “Just Transition” would eliminate entire sectors of the Canadian economy and hundreds of thousands of good jobs deemed too ‘dirty’ by lawmakers in Ottawa. The transition to a low-carbon economy in Canada will have an uneven impact across sectors, occupations and regions, and create significant labor market disruptions:
- in agriculture, about 292,000 workers; 1.5 percent of Canada’s employment;
- in energy, about 202,000 workers; 1 percent of Canada’s employment;
- in manufacturing, about 193,000 workers; 1 percent of Canada’s employment;
- in buildings, about 1.4 million workers; 7 percent of Canada’s employment;
- in transportation, about 642,000 workers; 3 percent of Canada’s employment.
That adds up to 13.5 percent of Canada’s total workforce, in all parts of the country. But, the impact will be greater in oil and gas provinces, especially Alberta. The oil and gas sector is a large contributor to the GDP of Alberta and Newfoundland, at 27.3 percent and 36.2 percent respectively, affecting about 187,000 workers in Alberta and 13,300 workers in Newfoundland, compared to less than three percent in any other province. At stake is a full one-quarter of Alberta’s economy, with all the royalties, income taxes and other economic benefits that come from oil and gas, both for the province and the federal treasury. In Newfoundland, it is over one-third of the economy. In Canada, where the government provides health care from tax revenues, this will have huge impacts.
In 2022, Canada secured a piece of the EV revolution, costing taxpayers a multi-billion dollar price tag. Huge EV battery projects are being subsidized in southern Ontario, resulting in the first fully electric vehicle built in Ingersoll, which received a major order from courier company DHL. GM made the electric delivery van, resulting in 400 Canadian jobs at a cost of over $500 million split between Ontario and the Canadian government. It is part of at least $2 billion and likely much more to be spent to ensure electric vehicle manufacturing stays in Canada.
Six Wyoming state lawmakers co-sponsored a bill to end electric vehicle sales in 2035 to counter California’s bill to ban gasoline-powered vehicles in 2035, as the nation, or at least a number of states, follow in California’s footsteps. California is banning gas cars forcing its residents into electric cars when it already has trouble meeting electricity demand, as it has shuttered its coal plants, most nuclear plants and is relying on renewable energy, natural gas, and electricity imports from its neighbors. Wyoming may be wise to see the economic downturn and energy shortage that may arise from forcing electricity as the sole energy fuel in all sectors. Certainly, the expected economic impact of Canada’s “Just Transition” is just one example of the problems associated with a forced energy transition. And, as not all nations are on the bandwagon, the Western countries will be headed for economic turmoil while China, Russia and India continue with their economic growth and energy wealth.
Further, Wyoming has said no to the Biden administration’s demands for developing an EV charging network. The problem is that in rural areas, drivers travel long distances, frequently haul trailers or boats, and the Wyoming area is bitterly cold, all of which drain batteries fast. Wyoming’s alternative to place chargers in tourist areas was refused by the Biden administration, placing that program in Wyoming in limbo for the time being.