Under the altruistic banner of stopping the climate from changing and saving all of humanity, the administrative agents of President Biden are busy transitioning the world around us. From the way we fuel our cars to how we power our homeswash our dishes and what we eat, they are using the might of the federal government to force their quasi-religious edicts on the American people. The tailpipe rule, which aims to rid the country of gas-powered vehicles, is the latest example.

Technically referred to as the “Multi-Pollutant Emissions Standards for Model Years 2027 and Later” proposal, the EPA’s tailpipe rule will require 67% of new vehicles sold to be electric by model year 2032. This may look good on paper, but today less than 6% of new cars sold are electric. A sister agency of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), projects that by 2050, only 9% of U.S. vehicles sold will be electric.

While the tailpipe rule doesn’t explicitly ban the internal combustion engine, it uses a death by a thousand regulations to squeeze this technology out of existence. This approach is both infeasible and out of touch with the average consumer. A June 28 poll from Pew Research found that 59% of Americans oppose bans on gas-powered vehicles—representing a 7% growth in opposition to the idea. Even though (electric vehicle) EV technology has significantly improved in recent years, the same characteristics that propelled gas-powered vehicles to dominance in the early 1900s still ring true today: they are less expensive, can travel longer distances, and are refueled in a matter of minutes.  

It’s not just the timelines of the tailpipe rule that are out of reach; it’s also the purported environmental goals. While the concept of “zero-emission vehicles” looks good on paper to some, reality paints a different picture. As one leading physicist and engineer has made clear: the average 1,000-pound EV battery requires extracting and processing 500,000 pounds of materials to procure the requisite lithium, cobalt, nickel, and other battery metals. Much of this mining is done abroad in mines that have little regard for basic environmental standards or any notion of cutting emissions. As a result, the first 60,000 to 70,000 miles of an EV are more polluting—by climate activists’ own standards—than gas-powered cars.

There is also the matter of costs. Much of the immediate costs are hidden with the influx of taxpayer-funded subsidies, but even so, EVs are unattainable for many American families. The average price of an EV is around $64,000, compared to the average price of traditional cars at $48,000. Forcing the market to build EVs that are not in high demand also inflates the costs of traditional cars. As a result, more Americans are driving older cars longer. The average age of vehicles in our aging fleet is now 12.5 years and getting longer. This undermines the reach of efficiency standards as well as safety improvements.

When it comes to fueling all these new cars, many electrical grids are already strained. Another proposed regulation from the EPA that aims to phase out coal and natural-gas-powered electricity will only exacerbate this problem while also inflating costs. Conveniently, the tailpipe rule does not consider the effects of this new rule in its analysis.

Team Biden seems unconcerned with these very real issues. Technical feasibility, consumer choice, safety, and costs won’t stand in the way of the president making good on a promise to rid the world of fossil fuel energy and the technologies that rely on them in short order. But ambitious zealotry is not a good replacement for reality. Such an approach has proved disastrous in both government and business. 

In 2019, WeWork, a company that popularized co-working spaces, was the highest-valued tech startup at $47 billion. Its purpose wasn’t to build a successful business, but rather to “elevate the world’s consciousness.” While seemingly well-intentioned, the concept proved disastrous for running a business and produced catastrophic, billion-dollar losses. As one reporter noted, in WeWork’s case, it proved more fun to “run with hype and fervor over data.” The same could be said of Theranos and FTX where promises to do “good” or “change the world” failed to materialize after reality caught up.

When altruist entrepreneurs go from billion dollar venture capital darlings to bankruptcy or jail, it causes financial harm, but mainly to investors who prioritized altruistic hype over due diligence. The problem for taxpayers is that this same animus of prioritizing belief and “ambition” over facts, feasibility, and costs, is a defining characteristic of President Biden’s regulatory actions. And the billion dollar consequences fall squarely in the laps of hard-working Americans.