As Congress and the Biden administration continue to greenlight billions—and argue for trillions—as part of the nebulous and misguided American Jobs Plan, it is critical they instead embrace a revenue-neutral pathway to reduce emissions among America’s favorite mode of transportation: cars.

In “Near-Term Policy Pathways for Reducing Car and Light-Truck Emissions,” a new study appearing in Environmental Research Letters, R Street Institute Competition Policy Director Ashley Nunes argues that the current fiscal incentives aimed at moving consumers away from internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) to electric vehicles (EVs) are a waste of taxpayer dollars. Such incentives most frequently benefit individuals who least need it—those of higher socioeconomic status who could already afford to switch.

“Current electric vehicle subsidies are wasted on consumers who will likely buy these vehicles regardless,” said Nunes. “If lawmakers want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by phasing out traditional vehicles, they should emphasize the value of hybrid electric vehicles to the American consumer.”

While the American market overwhelmingly sells traditional, internal combustion engine vehicles, the second preference for those buyers are hybrid electric vehicles, not purely electrified ones. The study also notes that consumers are wary of switching to purely electric vehicles due to a fear of range limitations, extended charge times and inadequate charging infrastructure—all of which reduces the success of current incentive models.

Read the full policy study here.

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