I like electric vehicles. Innovations in the automotive sector have been truly remarkable in recent years, and it’s no wonder people are beginning to purchase them.

One of my favorite movies is “Back to the Future.” When it came out in 1985 and we heard Doc Brown talking about his flux capacitor, the idea that a car could drive and navigate itself powered by electricity seemed like it would always be science fiction. Today, the free market has brought this to fruition. We don’t have flying DeLoreans, but at the rate we’re going I won’t rule them out in my lifetime.

But while EVs are an awesome improvement in automotive technology, don’t tell me and other Mainers that we’re required to purchase one.

Supporting the innovation behind EVs and forcing people to buy them are two different concepts. There is no need to suppress consumer choice and compel the transition to electric vehicles that is already underway in the marketplace without government coercion.

Unfortunately, our state is now in a position to adopt California-style vehicle regulations, specifically the Advanced Clean Cars II and Advanced Clean Trucks programs.

These regulations, pushed by special interests that petitioned the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to adopt them, would require larger percentages of automobile and truck sales to be zero-emission vehicles starting in 2027. Their intent is to eventually ban the sale of gas-powered vehicles in Maine as California has planned to do by 2035.


If Maine wants to fully transition to EVs, mandates simply aren’t the answer. So much must be done before a full transition can occur, and there are too many unanswered questions to start imposing mandates today. There are also numerous logistical and infrastructure-related concerns that still exist which make such rapid adoption of EVs in Maine unrealistic.

Advocates of the rules claim that EVs are a good investment because they’re cheaper in the long run than vehicles with internal combustion engines. However, that simply isn’t true. Today, a gas-powered vehicle with good gas mileage is still a better investment than an EV.

Not only do EVs remain more expensive than their gas-powered counterparts, there are many additional costs associated with EV ownership that are often overlooked, including the cost of fueling them. Chief among them are the costs of installing a suitable at-home charging station – most homes do not have one – in addition to the costs of residential power, which are on the rise in Maine.

How realistic is it to force a single mom of three who makes $45,000 annually to buy an EV? If her gas-powered vehicle falls into disrepair and she needs a new vehicle, the state would effectively be forcing her to spend more than her salary on a new EV purchase when plenty of gas-powered vehicle options exist within her price range.

This is why Mainers – not Gov. Mills or the Maine DEP – should be responsible for making decisions that work for their budgets. When choice is stripped from individuals and instead dictated by the government, free people and free markets lose.

It’s also worth noting that it’s bitterly cold here in Maine for about six months out of the year. The truth is that EV batteries lose substantial range in cold temperatures. Whether it’s a family driving from southern Maine to Sugarloaf to ski, or a heavy-duty truck making a delivery to a grocery store, driving in Maine could become a logistical nightmare without the infrastructure in place to support such a rapid transition to EVs.

It’s unclear to me who we are trying to help with these mandates. The implementation of these programs has real life consequences that would devastate families, businesses and our supply chain if adopted along the proposed timeline. What is clear to me is that the proponents of these regulations haven’t given much thought to their effects on average people and the economy.

There’s nothing wrong with EVs. But when it’s actually feasible for people and businesses to purchase them, they will do so without government force.

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