Bribed to Buy

  • February 20, 2024

Here’s an obvious thing that never seems to occur to EV apologists: Why is it necessary to pay people to buy them? 

That’s what those “tax credits” you’ve no doubt heard about amount to.

Yes, it’s true that the people who qualify for them are merely getting back some of their own money – that would otherwise have been paid (that is, taken) in taxes. It’s still effectively a bribe. In return for buying something you probably otherwise wouldn’t we will give you back some of the money you otherwise would have had to pay the government.

“Tax credits” were not necessary to sell cars that sold – on their merits – like the 1964 Mustang, for instance. It was a new kind of car – the eponymous pony car – that Ford took a gamble on that paid off handsomely. The Mustang has been in continuous production ever since. This year is its 60th anniversary. Millions have been produced over that timespan.

And no one had to be bribed to buy one. As opposed to the “Mustang” Mach E, which is an EV (and isn’t a Mustang any more than mRNA drugs are vaccines).

No one got a check from the government for buying a VW Beetle, either. Or – for that matter – one of VW’s high-mileage, low-cost diesel-powered cars. The ones you can’t buy anymore. The government attacked VW for selling them to people who very much wanted to buy them – using their own money.

This says a great deal about what government wants.

Try to imagine what the landscape would look like if the government weren’t bribing people to buy EVs. It is easy to imagine, because there would be very few, if any, EVs. It is why there were almost no EVs from circa 1930 to circa 2008, when Tesla began converting Lotus sports cars into battery powered devices.

You have probably read about the problems manufacturers are having trying to sell EVs even with the bribes in place. Try to imagine the problems they’d have if people weren’t being bribed to buy EVs.nIf everyone who actually wanted one had to pay for it, just the same as everyone else who buys cars they’re not paid to buy.

EV apologists will often comeback with the accusation that oil is also subsidized; that people are not paying the full cost of the fuel they’re buying. This is absurd. If anything, they are paying through the nose already. The cost of a gallon of gas includes extortion – they are styled “taxes” – to the tune of about 50-60 cents per gallon, depending on which state you live in. Filling up an average car’s 15 gallon tank entails paying around $8 in taxes. Annually, that comes to around $400. If you have driven an average car the average annual mileage for the past 20 years, you have paid more (about $8,000) than the buyer of a new EV is bribed to buy an EV.

This does not factor in the income taxes paid to the federal government that go to pay for “defense” – as offense is now styled. The cost of all that “defense,” we’re told, is to protect the nation’s supply of oil. Except most of it was produced here until just three years ago, a story for another time.

And in spite of all that paying in “taxes,” the people who bought the cars did so with their own money. Because they decided the car was worth the money.

EV buyers have not yet been obliged to make that calculation.

The result has been an artificial – and temporary – blip in the apparent popularity of EVs. It is not that they are really popular, something that cannot be established until it’s clear there a sufficient number of people willing to buy them, using their own money. What it is – right now – is like the fancy (and expensive) car wash place that opened in my area recently. They have been offering free car washes – and there’s a line around the block.


Free is our favorite price – to quote Woody Woodpecker, after he dined and dashed at the restaurant owned by the poor walrus.

Subsidized – and discounted – works, too. People will buy things that sell for less than they would otherwise cost. The difficulty – for the seller – lies in absorbing such costs. Clearing out inventory does not mean you’ve made a lot of money – or that what you’re selling is popular. It means you cleared out inventory – by lowering the price to a level low enough that people were willing to take off your hands that which they would otherwise have left on the shelves.

It’s no way to run a business.

Certainly not for long – as you eventually run out of other people’s money (borrowing a line from Margaret Thatcher, the onetime prime minister of Great Britain).

Those obliged to sell EVs are dependent on the bribes it takes to get people to buy them. They know that were it not for these bribes, they would have a much tougher time selling what people would otherwise not be able to buy. In italics to emphasize the fact that EVs are simply too expensive for most people to buy, leaving aside their hypothetical desire to buy them. The latter in italics to emphasize the fact that what a person wants is immaterial if it is beyond his means. Many of us would very much like to own a luxury car, for instance. But most of us don’t own one because we’re not paid to buy them.

Unless, of course, they’re battery powered devices.

. . .

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