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Nebraska Senator Pete Ricketts hosts event on the 'reality of electric cars'

Posted at 6:52 PM, Aug 28, 2023

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — After the Biden Administration announced an emissions mandate calling for two-thirds of new vehicles to be electric by 2032, Nebraska Sen. Pete Ricketts is expressing his opinions.

"We're a rural state. We don't have chargers all over the place but we do have places where people can fuel up with E85 and be able to get to work over long distances that will work in all types of weather," he said.

At Metropolitan Community College, Ricketts hosted Nebraska stakeholders and policy experts from across the country to discuss alternatives to electric vehicles. While he said he isn't against EVs, he doesn't see areas in Nebraska outside of Lincoln and Omaha that can support charging and the high prices.

"If you don't have a plan for generating energy and you don't have a way to get all the critical minerals, what does that mean? The price is going to stay high."

Ricketts also said the average cost of an EV is about $65,000. Findmyelectric.com has similar data, with the average cost being $64,000.

"Without a plan to make electric cars cheaper for the masses, we risk increasing emissions and widening socioeconomic inequality that we see on American roads today," said Ashley Nunes, the director for federal policy on climate and energy at the Breakthrough Institute.

Nunes also said he cited information from the Congressional Research Service stating that the average price a low-income family pays for a car in the U.S. is closer to $12,000.

Another issue they looked at is the amount of energy required if the U.S. were to go 100% electric.

"About 40% of what we consume now is going to be needed at some point in the future should we go towards full electrification," said Jeffrey Short with the American Transportation Research Institute.

This is why Ricketts is proposing the Flex Fuel Fairness Act.

"What we ought to be doing is adding a level playing field to allow for a variety of different solutions to be able to address this pressing need," said Ricketts.

This plan calls for cleaner-burning ethanol and biodiesel fuel. An example was shown at the event, where heavy-duty trucks showcased how they are running on cleaner fuels.

Nebraska will get $6 million in federal funds across the next five years to add EV charging stations. Local sites include I-80, Highway 31 and Highway 6.

This draft has been updated to say that Biden Administration announced an emissions mandate calling for two-thirds of new vehicles to be electric by 2032. A previous draft incorrectly listed the date as 2023.

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