The ECO Act Would Force You To Subsidize Electric Vehicles

Next week, the State Senate will be considering the ECO Act, which would make changes to Minnesota’s energy efficiency program, which is called the Conservation Improvement Program, or CIP.

There are several positive aspects of this bill, including an important shift away from forcing utility companies to spend more money than they may need to reach their energy efficiency goals. However, there are also provisions of the ECO Act that would force Minnesota families to subsidize electric vehicle (EV) rebates by paying more for their energy each month, and these provisions should not be included in the bill.

Our readers strongly oppose Governor Walz’s attempt to force California’s electric vehicle mandates upon Minnesotans. In fact, they submitted so many emails telling Governor Walz that they opposed this regulatory overreach that it accounted for 13 percent of all the comments submitted. American Experiment’s Thinking Minnesota poll found that 68 percent, an overwhelming majority, of Minnesotans did not approve of electric mandates and were unwilling to pay more to subsidize electric vehicles.

Subsidizing EVs Under the ECO Act

Every month, Minnesota families pay an extra cost on their electric bill and natural gas bill to pay for the CIP program to promote energy efficiency. As it is currently written, the ECO Act would give utility companies and regulators broad powers to redistribute CIP dollars as incentives to buy EVs.

This has been a liberal wish-list item for a long time. Last session, the Minnesota House, which is controlled by the Democrats, wanted to give EV buyers a $2,500 rebate for buying new electric vehicles under $60,000.

Keep in mind, many EV models qualify for a $7,500 tax credit from the federal government, so this additional rebate, if enacted, would make the handout a cool $10,000. Research on the demographics of EV buyers from Morgan State University found:

“EV owners are white males who are more educated, affluent, older, and more environmentally focused than are owners of internal combustion engine vehicles. EVs were most popular among Democrats and least among those not interested in politics.”

The U.S. Energy Information Administration had similar findings, concluding that 67 percent of households that had electric cars made more than $100,000 per year.

In other words, the ECO Act would serve as a wealth transfer from low and middle income families to predominantly white, wealthy, liberals who live in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Like any piece of legislation, there are beneficial aspects of the ECO Act, and parts that should be left on the cutting room floor. Minnesota conservatives have pushed back hard against the Walz administration’s attempt to circumvent the legislature and impose California’s electric car mandates on Minnesota, and families and small businesses owners in Greater Minnesota should not be forced to pay extra for their energy to subsidize vanity electric car purchases for urban liberals.