According to a legislative initiative, the sale of electric cars in the state should be banned by 2035. The resolution was immediately defeated. But the initiator doesn't mean it that way anyway.
It was one of those reports that, after reading it, you first check the date. But no, it wasn't April 1st, it was just the beginning of January. And when an issue exists as a written resolution, it couldn't be further from an April Fool's joke. So it's true: Wyoming, a very rural state in the American Midwest, wants to ban electric cars. It's the truth, is not it? At least it's there in black and white.
According to the "Washington Post", a group of Republican politicians led by Senator James Lee "Jim" Anderson (74) in their legislative initiative called on the legislature to gradually ban the sale of new electric vehicles by 2035. The regional news website "Cowboy State Daily" puts it somewhat toned down. Accordingly, the resolution was a motion that wanted to call on Wyoming residents to voluntarily limit their sales and purchases of new electric vehicles.
Protection of oil and gas production
Electric cars are impractical and their batteries consume valuable resources, the draft justifies. "Wyoming's sprawling freeways and lack of EV charging infrastructure make widespread EV deployment impractical for the state."
But the application also had an economic component. "Since its invention, the gasoline-powered vehicle has enabled the state's industries and businesses to trade and move goods and resources across the country more efficiently," reads the preamble. According to statistics from the Federal Energy Information Administration, Wyoming is the eighth largest oil producer in the United States. Banning the sale of electric vehicles will "ensure the stability of Wyoming's oil and gas industry and help conserve the country's important minerals for vital purposes," according to the draft's logic.
Response to California's combustion ban
But Senator Anderson, who represents Natrona County in central Wyoming, doesn't actually want e-cars to be banned in his state. At least that's what he says now, about a week after publication of the resolution. "I have absolutely no problem with electric vehicles," he says, according to the Washington Post. "I have a problem with people saying, 'Stop buying petroleum-powered vehicles'."
He's alluding to a law recently passed in California that will ban the sale of pure combustion vehicles from 2035.Experience has shown that such regulations in the economically strong state on the US west coast have a major impact on the car market and the car industry nationwide. According to Anderson, this law even forces people to buy electric cars. He sees his legislative initiative as a message and response to the California initiative and calls it "a resolution that says: 'We don't like your bill'".
Could Wyoming even benefit from electric cars?
The Republican statement in the form of the legislative initiative could have turned out to be a boomerang for Wyoming from an economic point of view. On the one hand, the state is entitled to 24 million dollars (currently the equivalent of a good 22 million euros) in state subsidies over the next five years in order to be able to set up a charging infrastructure on its trunk roads. On the other hand, not only oil is pumped there, but also mining.
In addition to tons of coal, there are deposits of cobalt, lithium and potentially graphite and other rare earths in Wyoming. Both raw materials play an important role in e-car batteries and could therefore become valuable for the state in the future. Although Anderson says "it would be nice if the state would start mining materials for electric vehicle batteries". At the same time, he raised concerns about where the batteries end up when they are disposed of.
Consequently, the initiative was thrown out directly. The motion failed to pass a meeting of the Senate Committee on Minerals, Corporates and Economic Development, reports Cowboy State Daily. Anderson and his fellow campaigners say they can live with the decision. They are glad to have initiated a discussion on the subject.
Note: In the slideshow we show you the Ford F-150 Lightning, the electric version of the best-selling car in the USA.
Some Republicans in Wyoming planned to ban electric cars to protect the state's oil and gas industry. That's what it looked like last week, when a corresponding bill was introduced. Then one of the initiators doesn't mean it that way, but wants the initiative to be understood as an answer to California's combustion ban. And finally the application was rejected in the first instance.
Either way, the resolution doesn't cast a good light on the responsible politicians. Such an approach is backwards and this type of protectionism has seldom worked to save once large sectors of the economy from becoming irrelevant or even dying. In addition, such a lesson policy helps neither the cause nor the people. By the way: Anderson's term ends in January 2025. Maybe voters should give him a lesson then.