At the federal level, Joe Biden has proposed a costly $174 billion plan to expand electric vehicle infrastructure, meanwhile a number of states have used taxpayer dollars to subsidize building out electric vehicle stations. 

This top down approach is an expensive one for taxpayers, and unnecessary. In Pennsylvania, some legislators are aiming to have the Public Utilities Commission approve plans from electric utility providers for electric vehicle station expansion, with Senate Bill 435.

The process avoids the major expenses of some other state’s plans, but still takes a top-down approach, mandating a 50% increase in electrification by 2030. It also has just the utilities putting together plans, which the government approves, leaving out other relevant parties. 

Why is the government so involved at all? In Kansas, a major utility company built new electric vehicle stations on their own. The state legislature declined to install a fee or tell them how best to build out stations. The results have been many new charging stations, while taxpayers pay no additional cost. 

With governments at multiple levels already subsidizing EV’s, plenty of demand exists. 

Further, if emissions are the focus, much of the reduction in emissions from vehicles has not occurred because of electric vehicles, but because of improvements in gas-powered vehicles. If Pennsylvania wants lower emissions, mandating electric vehicles isn’t the solution. 

This is reminiscent of Pennsylvania’s leading natural gas industry driving down the state’s emissions as much as other northeastern states who took a top-down, cap-and-trade approach by joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The state produces 20 percent of the natural gas in the United States, and Pennsylvania’s carbon emissions have gone down by 30 percent as natural gas use has grown in recent years.

Pennsylvania saw massive economic growth from natural gas by letting the market work, and environmental benefits. 

Instead of following California’s lead with heavy government involvement to expand electric vehicles, Pennsylvania should let the market work, like Kansas did.