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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg | Credits: AP
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Buttigieg Stammers To Explain Electric Car Fiasco

United States: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg finds himself embroiled in controversy once more amid President Joe Biden’s fervent advocacy for electric vehicles (EVs) and the administration’s dismal track record in converting substantial federal investments into a functional EV charging network. 

During a Sunday interview on CBS News’ “Face The Nation,” host Margaret Brennan posed incisive questions to Buttigieg, unreservedly pointing out the administration’s shortcomings.

In a segment aired during the interview, former President Donald Trump castigated Biden’s focus on electric vehicles, “Do you notice [Biden]’s trying to save the electric vehicle but not the gas-powered, which is the vehicle that everybody wants? They’re going crazy with the electric car, costing us a fortune. We’re spending hundreds of billions of dollars subsidizing a car that nobody wants, and nobody’s ever gonna buy.” Trump’s stark critique resonated with numerous Americans who see through what they perceive as an environmental pretense.

Brennan, not typically known for conservative rhetoric, responded to Trump’s comments with a straightforward acknowledgment: “He’s not wrong.” Buttigieg, visibly perturbed, sought to defend the administration’s policies, but Brennan remained unswayed. “On the purchasing, he’s not. Of the 4 million vehicles purchased, you know what- 269,000 electric vehicles were sold in the US market. It’s up like 2%,” she noted, highlighting the lukewarm public reception to EVs despite substantial government incentives.

The dialogue then shifted to the eye-watering $7.5 billion taxpayer investment in 2021, aimed at establishing a comprehensive charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. Astonishingly, this vast expenditure has resulted in the creation of only seven or eight charging stations—a paltry outcome for a project under Buttigieg’s supervision. Brennan appropriately challenged Buttigieg on this conspicuous failure.

Buttigieg’s response was as unconvincing as his record: he contended that building charging stations was “really hard” and promised that 500,000 would be erected over the next six years. This assurance rings hollow, given the administration’s failure to construct even ten stations after nearly three years.

This regrettable example illustrates some of the problems with the Biden administration’s energy and transportation policies. Altogether, while the general idea to promote electric vehicles is noble, the lacking push misses the mark on the actual requirements of the ordinary population, which is another major issue when it comes to car manufacturing. The implication remains that majority of the people will prefer reliable, inexpensive and efficiency-oriented gas-powered cars instead of expensive, burdensome electric ones.

Another example is the nomination of Pete Buttigieg as the Secretary of Transportation, which also looks like the Biden administration was seeking to fulfill its diversity quota. Nonetheless, the lack of experience of Buttigieg, which came like a breath of fresh air into transport alongside infrastructure frameworks, has continuously been highlighted during his term. This failure and inability to manage the EV charging station project is in line with what others have expected Javid to do throughout his term in office, but he has consistently underperformed and delivered on the wrong strategies.

The latter is more important for the American people, who should be given the opportunity to be led by people who have earned their position based on merit and competence rather than the color of their skin. Certainly, the nation cannot afford to spend billions of dollars on projects that are non-sensical and do not provide much return. The author points out that Buttigieg’s struggles in his position, which appointed him, was a mistake, mainly exposing the Biden administration’s folly and priorities.

In conclusion, Pete Buttigieg and the electric vehicle debacle exemplify a government out of sync with its citizens, misusing taxpayer funds on unpopular and poorly managed initiatives. A strategic shift is imperative, one that prioritizes the needs and preferences of the American populace over ideological pursuits and political tokenism. The future of our transportation system and the judicious use of taxpayer money hinge on this necessary course correction.

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