June 23, 2024

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Biden Doesn’t Want You Buying an E.V. From China. Here’s Why.

2 min read

President Biden wants more of America’s cars and trucks to run on electricity, not gas. His administration has pushed that goal on multiple fronts, including strict new regulations of auto emissions and lavish new subsidies to help American consumers take as much as $7,500 off the cost of a new electric vehicle.

Mr. Biden’s aides agree that electric vehicles — which retail for more than $53,000 on average in the United States — would sell even faster here if they were less expensive. As it happens, there is a wave of new electric vehicles that are significantly cheaper than the ones customers can currently buy in the United States. They are proving extremely popular in Europe.

But the president and his team do not want Americans to buy these cheap cars, which retail elsewhere for as little as $10,000, because they are made in China. That’s true even though a surge of low-cost imported electric vehicles might help drive down car prices overall, potentially helping Mr. Biden in his re-election campaign at a time when inflation remains voters’ top economic concern.

Instead, the president is taking steps to make Chinese electric vehicles prohibitively expensive, in large part to protect American automakers. Mr. Biden signed an executive action earlier this month that quadruples tariffs on those cars to 100 percent.

Those tariffs will put many potential Chinese imports at a significant cost disadvantage to electric vehicles made in America. But some models, like the discount BYD Seagull, could still cost less than some American rivals even after tariffs, which is one reason Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and some other Democrats have called on Mr. Biden to ban Chinese E.V. imports entirely.

The apparent clash between climate concerns and American manufacturing has upset some environmentalists and liberal economists, who say the country and the world would be better off if Mr. Biden welcomed the importation of low-cost, low-emission technologies to fight…

Jim Tankersley

2024-05-27 09:46:53

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