Cooper’s Committee to Overhaul State’s Auto Industry | Beaufort County Now | Earlier this year Gov. Cooper issued an Executive Order that would effectively transform the state’s entire economy.

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    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the John Locke Foundation. The author of this post is Brian Balfour.

    Earlier this year Gov. Cooper issued an Executive Order that would effectively transform the state's entire economy.

    Among the goals laid out in the plan were a reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of 50% below 2005 levels by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050, and an increase in electric vehicles (EVs) registered in the state to 1.25 million by 2030 along with a goal of 50% of all new car sales in the state being EVs by 2030. This would require a 4,000% increase in EVs in just 8 years.

    To help pursue these goals, Cooper ordered that a "Clean Transportation Plan" be developed and delivered by April 7, 2023.

    This morning, the NC Department of Transportation hosted its first "public information session" online to kick off the process.

    Gov. Cooper himself helped to get the meeting started with a few comments, including his desire that this plan is "actionable," and that state agencies and the legislature help to enact its recommendations.

    The meeting was run by Jennifer Weiss, Senior Advisor for Climate Change Policy at NCDOT, and included the following highlights:

  • Weiss acknowledged that the power sector is doing "great" in terms of reducing GHG emissions, but failed to cite the reasons behind said reductions. As my colleague Jon Sanders has pointed out, it's largely market forces, and fracking, that has driven emissions down. Not "renewable" energy that Cooper & Co. want to cram down our throats.
  • Transportation is responsible for more emissions than any other sector, giving reason behind the emphasis on a "clean transportation plan."
  • Currently, there are about 39,000 EVs registered in North Carolina. There were about 12 - 12,500 sold in 2021 - making up roughly 3% of total car sales in NC. Recall their goal is 1.25 million and 50% of car sales by 2030 - a formidable goal to say the least
  • In 2021, there were 2,723 charging ports in NC among roughly 1,000 charging stations across the state. This makes a ratio of roughly one port per 14.3 EVs. Using some very rough, conservative, back of the envelope estimates, we can use this estimate of $6,000 installation costs per commercial port to ballpark an estimate that to maintain the current port/EV ratio for 1.25 million EVs would require adding nearly 85,000 charging ports at a total installation cost of $508 million.
  • Weiss claimed that the plan will have "accountability metrics," i.e. measurable results to evaluate the plan's success. No mention was made, however, of who would be held accountable if the measures were not met, or how they would be held accountable.
  • To achieve the EV goals, options included incentives and consumer financing (no doubt taxpayer-funded)
  • Other goals included: transitioning state and local vehicles to EVs (including school buses), introducing a "transportation demand management plan" to reduce vehicle miles traveled, increasing bike paths, rail and transit to get people off the roads, and a goal of 100% of all new medium and heavy-duty vehicle sales being EVs by 2050.

    Let there be no doubt, this "Clean Transportation Plan" will come with a hefty price tag and a forcible overhaul of the state's auto industry.
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