PoliticsThursday 06.27.24

“No mandate. You can purchase a gas car": Pete Buttigieg lists ways he says Scott Perry's wrong about electric vehicles.

Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg on Thursday listed ways he said Rep. Scott Perry was wrong about electric vehicles, including Perry's suggestion that there is a federal mandate for Americans to buy electric vehicles.

“I'm wondering, is there some point, and if you've identified some point, where you will stop, where the administration will stop, where the federal government will stop this requirement and let the market decide, as opposed to the central planning model and this dictatorial policy?” Perry asked the secretary in a hearing on the Department of Transportation's Fiscal Year 2025 budget request before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

“Given time is limited, I will confine myself to addressing the factually incorrect portions of what you have said, beginning with the assertion that EV sales are going down,” Buttigieg said. “They are, in fact, going up.”

The Pennsylvania Republican grilled the secretary on the specifics of whether the increase in EV sales were attributed to government or private spending; Buttigieg noted that 1.2 million EVs were sold in the U.S. in 2020, with more private citizens purchasing them than government.

“Let me address the second factual mistake in your remarks, which was that EV costs are getting higher. They're, in fact, getting lower, and, according to J.D. Power, have now reached parity or are slightly lower than the equivalent gas-powered car,” Buttigieg said.

“With or without subsidy, Mr. Secretary?” Perry asked.

“Yeah, that does include the subsidy, that's right, but the point is they are going lower each passing year. Because we're all buying them. Your statement that they are going up is incorrect,” Buttigieg continued. “The third incorrect assertion you made is that sales dropped in Q1. They did not drop compared to Q1 of the previous year. Of course, if you compare them to Q4, they drop because they always do because car sales are seasonal, but I would imagine most people are aware of that.”

“No, I'm talking about EV, Q4 to Q1,” Perry replied. “EV, not just overall car sales.”

“Any car sales go down Q1 to Q4 because more people buy cars in Q4. But what I'm telling you is, every single year, more Americans buy EVs than the year before. And the word 'tailspin' is just a bizarre word to use for a growing sector of our economy,” Buttigieg said.

The secretary also noted the administration’s efforts to curb China’s growth in the sector, “not because they're environmentalists, but because they understand the economic power of trying to dominate the EV market.”

“We want those EVs to be made in America, and increasingly they are,” Buttigieg said.

“I'm happy to have them made in America, Mr. Secretary. What I'm not happy about is the mandate,” Perry said. “The American people should be able to buy any vehicle that they want.”

“That brings me to the fourth and final thing that I need to challenge as being factually inaccurate, which is, there is no mandate,” Buttigieg replied. “You can purchase a gas car if you want to pay gas prices at the pump, but if you don't, you can purchase an EV with our help.”

Recount Wire