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National Review
National Review
1 Apr 2023
Andrew Stuttaford

NextImg:The Corner: Free Markets or Net Zero: Choose One (Britain’s Car-Rationing Edition)

Just when you think Britain’s Conservatives cannot move any further away from the free markets they once espoused, a bit of news like this comes along (via the Daily Telegraph):

Car manufacturers will be forced to ration the number of petrol and diesel cars it sells from next year until 2030 when these sales will face an outright ban.

The Government’s Zero Emissions Vehicle mandate (ZEV) will put yearly restrictions on car manufacturers on the proportion of petrol cars they can sell, in a bid to drive up electric vehicle use and hit net zero targets.

With the need for an increased proportion of electric car sales, this will inevitably lead to the production of fewer petrol and diesel cars as manufacturers switch focus.

What surprises me (well, not really) is that the Tories are so unsure that consumers will, of their own free will, choose electric vehicles—despite (we are told) their amazing qualities, remarkably good value, and miraculous ability to save the planet–that they resort to coercion.

Could it be that the Conservatives know that electric vehicles are not quite everything their manufacturers and shills claim that they are?

Surely not.

The effect of these ‘mandates’ will inevitably be to push up the prices of traditional cars, adding a little more greenflation to the mix. On the other hand, the Tories (and their accomplices in Britain’s other major parties) want to force people onto public transport (when it’s available and its employees are not on strike), so pricing cars out of the reach of more and more people’s price range is a feature, not a bug.

And the ratchet will keep turning:

The much-anticipated ZEV mandate, which is now being consulted on, will require manufacturers to ensure 22 per cent of all new cars sold are electric by the start of next year, with this growing to 80 per cent in 2030.

Free markets or net zero. Choose one.