Republican Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy questioned a witness Thursday on why the government has to incentivize Americans to buy electric vehicles if they’re so “swell.”
During Thursday’s Senate Committee on the Budget hearing, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association Abigail Ross Hopper testified about the need for the Inflation Reduction Act and its “significant investments in the clean energy economy.”
During the hearing, Kennedy asked her about the demand for electric vehicles.
“Ms. Hopper, I love solar energy, I just want you to know that, and I love electric cars, but I gotta ask you this question, I’ve been waiting to ask this. If electric cars are so swell, how come government has to pay people to drive them?”
“So I think, like most government polices, right, are put in place to incent certain behaviors and so there’s part of the policy is that if we want more electric cars –” Hopper began to say before Kennedy jumped in.
“Yeah but if they’re so swell why couldn’t they just, in a competitive market, you know, people, why wouldn’t they be choosing electric cars over internal combustion engine cars? Why do we have to pay people to drive them?” (RELATED: ‘You Don’t Know, Do You?’: Biden Official Speechless After John Kennedy Grills Him On Simple Question)
“I wouldn’t characterize it as paying people to drive them,” Hopper said.
“Well sure we are! We’re giving them a big ol’ tax credit,” Kennedy interjected.
“I would characterize it as the government having a policy to incent more purchases of electric vehicles.”
The Biden Administration created a $7,500 consumer tax credit for a new stricter battery-sourcing rule that stems from the Inflation Reduction Act, but only eight electric vehicles and two plug-in hybrids qualify for the credit.
Experts estimate the program will cost $136 billion over the next 10 years.