Fox networks fearmonger over the Biden administration's new vehicle tailpipe emissions proposal
Fox used Biden's proposal to push misinformation about electric vehicles, which are projected to skyrocket in both sales and popularity in the next decade
On April 12, the Environmental Protection Agency introduced its strictest standards yet to curb planet-warming emissions from American cars and trucks. For automakers to be in compliance, over two-thirds of new vehicles sold in 2032 may have to be electric. Fox’s cable news networks, which for years have both bashed EVs and downplayed or outright denied the climate crisis, are of course not too keen on the proposal.
The EPA’s new standards apply to cars being manufactured in 2027 and beyond. Notably, they do not ban gas-powered vehicles; as NPR reported, the EPA is setting “a standard for emissions, on average, based on the size and type of vehicle being built.” These rules are stringent enough that auto companies will probably “need to produce 67% zero-emission vehicles to meet them.”
The EPA states that the standards would remove billions of tons of carbon emissions from the atmosphere in the coming decades, as well as improve the air quality for communities across the U.S. The standards still need to go through a public comment and review process before being finalized.
Throughout last week, programs on Fox News and Fox Business responded to the proposal by claiming EVs are prohibitively expensive, not popular among the U.S. public, and not environmentally friendly. They also complained about unnecessary federal regulations and blasted any efforts to transition to clean energy because, in their telling, it will only help China and weaken the U.S.
Fox is misleading about the cost and popularity of EVs
A common refrain from Fox is that electric vehicles are too expensive to compete with gas-powered cars, or that consumers in general just don’t want them.
While their upfront costs are currently more expensive than gas-powered cars, EVs are cheaper than gas-powered cars over their entire lifespan. Furthermore, the production costs of EVs continue to fall, and in the next decade EVs are projected to be cheaper to produce than gas cars.
In addition to long-term financial savings, EVs have numerous health benefits, as well. Reporting on the EPA proposal, The Detroit News noted that by 2055, the rules would reduce “fine particulate matter in the air that can have negative health effects and potentially saving up to $1.6 trillion.” Indeed, one recent study estimated that up to 20,000 people in the U.S. die each year due to vehicle pollution.
In terms of popularity, while EVs made up just 6% of total vehicle sales in the U.S. in 2022, this figure is double the amount from 2021 and likely only getting higher. By 2030, EV sales could make up nearly 40% of total passenger car sales in the U.S., according to analysis by S&P Global (without factoring in the proposed EPA standards). Research from Goldman Sachs estimates that EVs will constitute half of global car sales by 2035, and 60% of sales by 2040.
- Fox contributor and former Trump economic adviser Steve Moore: “Only 6% of the car sales are EVs, so they're basically telling the American consumers, ‘We're going to build the cars you don't want.’ I mean, how stupid is that?” [Fox Business, The Bottom Line, 4/10/23]
- Fox anchor Harris Faulkner: “Six percent of all new cars are EVs. That is a huge sign that people don't want this.” Frequent Fox guest Steve Forbes agreed that people don’t want EVs: “The fact they have to keep forcing people to do it shows that, again, people don't want it because they don't like the short distances, they don’t like having to charge an hour, hour and a half. People don't have garages to charge these things.” [Fox News, The Faulkner Focus, 4/12/23]
- Fox anchor Sandra Smith downplays the costs, popularity, and market share of EVs: “In these big American cities, people are scared to take public transportation because of rising crime rates coast-to-coast. … Why aren't we addressing that rather than pushing for these EVs that are not popular, they’re expensive, and the president’s own energy administration right now is forecasting they’ll only be a mere 10% of the American car market by the year 2050. So, if they were liked, if they were affordable, if they were efficient, wouldn't there just naturally be demand for these cars?” [Fox News, America Reports, 4/12/23]
- Fossil fuel shill and writer Robert Bryce: “This is very much a class issue. And it's not just about the affordability of the vehicles themselves, it’s about the upgrades to the grid that we’re all going to have to pay for through the rate base and through our taxes.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 4/12/23]
- President and CEO of Celebrity Motor Cars Tom Maoli suggests that car companies don’t even like EVs: “You know it’s interesting because while you’re saying that the car companies are trying to push EV, it's really the government that’s pushing it. The car companies don't want it. Nobody has figured out how to make money on this venture. … The consumer is not buying into it. They’re coming into the showrooms, they’re afraid of them.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/13/23]
Fox portends that it's strictly government regulations, and not market forces, that are pushing EVs on Americans
Whether Fox wants to admit it or not, major automakers including Ford, GM, Stellantis, Toyota, and Volkswagen already have aggressive goals for EV sales in the next decade. Additionally, climate-focused media outlet Heatmap reports that the EPA “expects that automakers are collectively on track for 44% of vehicle sales to be electric by 2030 without any changes to emissions rules.” Federal regulations will certainly prod automakers to manufacture more EVs, but to say that major automakers focused on the global market are moving to produce more EVs solely because of U.S. regulations is false. As part of this narrative, Fox figures are also claiming that this new rule is an affront to personal liberties. This is straight fearmongering, as the rule does not ban gas-powered cars or force people to give theirs up.
- Investment adviser Gary Kaltbaum: “We have a government now that’s coming out with some more dictates that are going to try to force you to maybe buy something you don't want to buy when there’s no demand there.” [Fox News, Your World, 4/10/23]
- Fox Business host Sean Duffy denounces the Biden administration’s “attack on gas-powered cars.” “The Biden administration is back at it again using crazy regulations to push their radical green agenda,” Duffy claimed. “The EPA now reportedly getting ready to roll out some of the most aggressive climate regulations ever this coming Wednesday, continuing their attack on gas-powered cars.” [Fox Business, The Bottom Line, 4/10/23]
- Fox News anchor Sandra Smith: “If you create the cars people want, they'll demand them. You don't have to mandate them.” [Fox News, America Reports, 4/10/23]
- Fox Business anchor Larry Kudlow states that the EPA is “taking away our free choice.” Kudlow said, “You know the problem with EPA and radical climate change in general is? They are taking away our free choice. So, if you're fed up with a bunch of left-wing central planners jamming stuff down your throat, well, then vote no.” [Fox Business, Kudlow, 4/11/23]
- Fox contributor Steve Moore suggests an ulterior motive to the emissions proposal: “So this isn't about cleaning up the atmosphere. This is about a radical climate change plan that is going to force people to buy cars they don't want to. I think the Biden people have really stepped in it on this one. Because, as I said, people don't want the government telling them what kind of car they can buy.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/13/23]
- Fossil fuel shill Steve Milloy: “Electric cars are so popular government has to mandate them and subsidize them. Look, this whole rule is a failure.” [Fox News, Fox News @ Night, 4/13/23]
- Fox contributor Phil Flynn says that Americans are “not ready” for the EV transition. “We are not ready for it and they are coming for your car, Sandra, you better lock your garage,” Flynn said, later adding “When the government starts meddling in the free markets and starts to try to pit winners and losers, there is always going to be a backlash that hurts the American people and that's what we’re seeing right now.” [Fox News, America Reports, 4/13/23]
- Fox Business host Brian Brenberg suggests this is not about EVs but rather controlling peoples’ movement: “Americans are not going to have the choices they have now about what they drive and how they do that. The fact is, Sean, what the president's actually trying to do is not get people into EVs but get them out of cars. He wants to control this whole supply chain. And the point is, the government's going to control how you get around, not you. And that, look, that's the stock and trade of every totalitarian government is to control the means of movement.” [Fox News, Hannity, 4/14/23]
Fox is insinuating that EVs are worse for the environment than gas cars, and that only China benefits from this proposal
An MIT article from October 2022 stated that “although electric cars' batteries make them more carbon-intensive to manufacture than gas cars, they more than make up for it by driving much cleaner under nearly any conditions.” EVs also don’t have the deadly tailpipe emissions associated with gas-powered cars.
Additionally, claims that only China benefits from this proposal are overstated. While China does control much of the supply chain for EV materials, the U.S. is taking steps to develop its own domestic supply chains (thanks in part to the Inflation Reduction Act) to reduce its reliance abroad. Automakers are also rethinking their supply chain strategies and investing in mines to secure the resources needed for scaling up electric vehicle production.
Finally, in addition to the numerous health benefits that come with reducing gas-powered car use, a transition to EVs would mean drivers would be less vulnerable to high gas prices and the whims of the global oil market. Reporting on the EPA proposal, MarketWatch notes that it “would strengthen American energy security by reducing reliance on 20 billion barrels of imported oil.”
- Fox host Will Cain suggests this plan only gives power to China: “In China, either through its own domestic geography or through its colonization of the world like Africa, has control of those raw materials as well. … If we move in this direction, we're giving that power, we're taking it from ourselves and giving it to China because of their dominance of those raw materials.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends Weekend, 4/9/23]
- American Petroleum Institute President Mike Sommers states that we are “sacrificing American energy independence” to China. “Doing this the way that they're doing it, which is really just to focus on tailpipe emissions, rather than the emissions that actually exist when you create a vehicle from the very beginning, these electric vehicles, while great technology, most those key components continue to be made in China. We shouldn't just be looking at this from the perspective of emissions, but we should also look at it from a national security perspective. We should not be sacrificing American energy independence to a regime that is certainly hostile to American interests.” [Fox Business, Mornings with Maria, 4/10/23]
- Fox co-host Brian Brenberg suggests this new proposal just gives China more power: “This is what I meaned, mixed up. We're talking about China's desire to dominate on the world stage, and we have a industrial policy by the Biden administration that wants to throw power to the Chinese by increasing emissions standards and, at the same time, handing all sorts of American taxpayer subsidies to Chinese companies in the U.S. for battery power and for battery production.” [Fox Business, The Big Money Show, 4/10/23]
- Fox correspondent Jackie DeAngelis insinuates that only China will profit: “Basically with this EV push and the green push in general — our solar panels, a lot of them come from China, as well — you’re basically selling out this country so that China can profit from this. It’s absolutely insane to me.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/11/23]
- Fox host Brian Kilmeade: “You can sleep well at night knowing that you're driving an electric car and other people’s lives are being ruined and countries are being destroyed, while China pays them and profits.” [Fox News, The Story, 4/12/23]
- Fox anchor Dagen McDowell: “We, by this electric vehicle boondoggle, are handing power and our borrowed money to China.” McDowell said: “We have taken a hammer to one of our greatest resources, our energy economy, our fossil fuel economy. We have lowered our standard of living, and so we have ceded power and prosperity to nations that hate us, to Iran and Russia, by reducing our energy output, our oil and natural gas output here, and then in turn we — to Sean's point, we, by this electric vehicle boondoggle, are handing power and our borrowed money to China.” [Fox News, America Reports, 4/12/23]
- Fox host Sean Hannity: The electric car push only helps China. “The push for electric cars also threatens national security,” Hannity claimed. “Experts warning now it will make us more dependent on China giving them more leverage over this country. Now, as-powered cars, they are just the latest thing that they want to ban.” [Fox News, Hannity, 4/13/23]
Fox is using good old-fashioned climate bashing to advance their anti-EV agenda
As usual, Fox is downplaying the seriousness of climate change by suggesting that these rules won’t do anything to help fight climate change. However, The Washington Post noted that the proposal is “large enough to avert the equivalent of two full years of nationwide carbon emissions, according to EPA estimates.” This proposal would thus go a long way in helping the U.S. — which is the world’s largest historical carbon emitter — to advance its climate goals. Additionally, as climate change requires a global, collective response, the U.S. would also be following in the footsteps of the European Union, which recently proposed even more-stringent requirements for tailpipe emissions.
- Fox host Greg Gutfeld: “None of their predictions have come true. None of them.” Gutfeld continued, “They are forcing America to do this crap over one, less than a percent Celsius. Less than a percent Celsius. It has no effect. And in fact, as this climate gets warmer, people's lives improve. That's a fact. That's a fact. People die from cold weather more frequently than warm weather.” [Fox News, The Five, 4/12/23]
- Fox host Jesse Watters suggests that climate change is like a religion: “It’s not going to lower the Earth's temperature at all. All it does is make the donors happy because this is a religion to them, and it makes my guys in Detroit happy because they sell these things, and we pay for half of it. It’s the taxpayers subsidizing this ‘green revolution.’” [Fox News, The Five, 4/12/23]
- Fox contributor Jason Chaffetz argues the proposal is part of a climate denial conspiracy theory related to the 15-minute city idea: “And the only thing they want to ramp up is their goal of limiting your mobility. This is not a mistake. As Laura [Ingraham] discussed last night with famed U.K. professor Norman Fenton, these moves are essential in order to bring about the end game of climate fanaticism — so-called 15-minute cities.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 4/12/23]
- Fox’s Dagen McDowell: “There is no climate crisis. This is all about removing your choice and ending your ability as an American to decide what the hell kind of car you want to drive.” [Fox Business, The Bottom Line, 4/12/23]