U.S. President Joe Biden traveled to Detroit, Michigan, the center of U.S. auto manufacturing, on Wednesday (Nov. 17) to promote the future of all-electric vehicle sales. Currently, U.S. motorists are facing high gasoline prices, and people are using almost all of their cars on gasoline.
Biden signed the $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law Monday. His trip to Detroit is a celebration of that legislative victory. He plans to visit an electric car assembly plant of General Motors, the largest U.S. automaker. GM has said it plans to switch to full production of electric vehicles by 2035.
President Biden's infrastructure package calls for the construction of $7.5 billion worth of electric vehicle charging stations across the United States, perhaps 500,000 charging devices. However, Americans currently lack the enthusiasm to buy electric cars. Last year, only 1.7 percent of cars sold in the U.S. were battery-powered, a third of the Chinese market and far behind the global leader, Norway. Nearly three-quarters of the cars sold in Norway are rechargeable.
Before Biden's trip to Detroit, the White House said Biden signed the infrastructure package "to send a clear signal to the world that the United States can lead in this race, that we choose to build these electric cars and batteries in the United States, and to enhance our national security by strengthening our domestic supply chain."
The White House said the bill would promote the creation of good-paying union jobs, while two key Biden advisers - National Economic Council Director Deeds and National Security Advisor Sullivan - said in an opinion piece in the Detroit Free Press that the infrastructure bill would help restore U.S. global competitiveness.
The two Biden advisers wrote, "No one knows better than Detroit. Detroit has been and can be at the heart of America's industrial strategy again today."
However, more electric vehicles are being sold in China and Europe because consumers are getting financial incentives and government regulators have incentives. Surveys show that there are about 1.3 million electric vehicles in use in the U.S. today, compared to a total of 7 million worldwide. But Biden has set a goal to have half of all cars sold in the U.S. be electric by 2030.
But at the moment, many American motorists are concerned about the high price of gas. Gasoline prices at the pump are currently at their highest level since 2014, with the typical price of $3.30 per gallon (3.8 liters), $1.08 more than 12 months ago, and rising gasoline prices, as well as food prices, are affecting household budgets.
Some of Biden's Republican opponents, including Republicans such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who voted for the infrastructure bill, slammed Biden for focusing on electric car technology while ignoring the rising gasoline prices Americans are currently facing as well as the price of natural gas for winter heating.
McConnell said Tuesday, "The Biden administration has no strategic plan to snap its fingers and turn our vast country into some kind of green utopia overnight."
McConnell said, "They just want to put big government money into things like solar panels and electric cars, and yet hope that everything works out." Nineteen Republican senators, including McConnell, voted in favor of the infrastructure bill. In the House, 13 Republican House members voted for it.
Biden wants to offer more incentives to push American motorists to buy electric cars. He called for a $7,500 tax credit for electric car buyers as part of his $1,850 billion social safety net bill and to keep the incentive in place through 2026. The House is scheduled to vote on the bill this week.