WATCH: Buttigieg Defends Biden's Vision Against Trump's Criticism

By Lisa Pelgin | Thursday, 04 April 2024 04:10 PM
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In a recent interview, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg defended the Biden administration's push for a future dominated by electric vehicles (EVs), likening the situation to the transition from landline phones to mobile devices.

Buttigieg dismissed claims that the move is premature, despite critics highlighting the high costs of some green vehicles and the current lack of widespread technology.

During a segment on "America Reports," anchor Sandra Smith discussed the workforce cuts at Ford's F-150 Lightning assembly plant in Dearborn, Michigan. According to the Detroit Free Press, only a third of the plant's workforce will remain starting this week. Buttigieg responded by emphasizing the steady annual increase in EV purchases.

"Tesla is facing more competition as GM, Ford, Stellantis, and other competitive players start to make sure they get a piece of the EV market. Let's be clear that the automotive sector is moving toward EVs, and we can't pretend otherwise," Buttigieg stated, following reports of a decline in Tesla sales.

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He added, "Sometimes when these debates happen, I feel like it's the early 2000s, and I'm talking to some people who think that we can just have landline phones forever."

Buttigieg also underscored the brewing competition in electric vehicle technology between the United States and China. He stressed the importance of America maintaining its lead in manufacturing.

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"We've got to make sure that those are made on American soil in places like northern Indiana, where I grew up, places like Michigan, where I live right now," he said, noting that China had made significant progress in the sector during former President Trump's administration.

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"We've been working to make sure that that advantage comes back onto American soil," Buttigieg emphasized.

Former President Trump criticized the Biden administration's push for EVs, citing an instance of electric cars stalling in Iowa's extreme winter conditions due to battery failure.

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Buttigieg acknowledged the criticism but maintained the importance of transitioning to an EV future. He addressed concerns about battery charging stations being powered by the same fossil fuels the policies aim to phase out.

The secretary argued that there is a difference in the environmental impact of charging stations powering lithium batteries versus internal combustion in an 87-octane engine.

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"A lot of electricity is still generated by fossil fuels, but if you look at the science of it, you'll see is that it is still more efficient, just as a matter of physics, to convert those fossil fuels into energy at a utility plant and then run it through transmission lines into a car than it is to burn it," he explained.

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Buttigieg added that most internal combustion engines rarely achieve anything higher than 40 percent efficiency.

Drawing a parallel with the early days of the petrol-powered car industry in the 1920s, he emphasized the need for the U.S. not to fall behind China in the EV industry.

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"Remember, the number one way that we have supported EVs is by making them more affordable. That's what those tax credits are about, and that's one of the reasons why you've seen the prices get closer and closer to parity, so more Americans can save both buying an EV and then the savings that tend to come with owning one," he concluded.

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