Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Monday said the American people stand to benefit from having more electric vehicles on the road but failed to elaborate on how they could become more affordable at a time when gas prices nationwide were hitting record levels.
Buttigieg spoke during a press conference unveiling the Biden administration's expensive plan to develop electric public buses. While touting the benefits of clean transportation, Buttigieg remarked that Americans from "rural to suburban to urban communities can all benefit from the gas savings of driving an EV."
Although the cost of electric vehicles has come down in recent years, they still remain out of reach for millions of Americans, with an average price hovering around $50,000.
EV's also rely on raw materials like cobalt and lithium for their batteries. A surge in demand for EV's would necessitate greater reliance on countries like Congo, Russia, and China which mine these materials.
Buttigieg's remarks came as gas prices are surging across the U.S. as calls grow to ban imports of Russian oil over Moscow's unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine.
Prices at the pump were rising long before the conflict but have increased faster since the start of the war.
The U.S. national average for a gallon of gasoline has soared 45 cents a gallon in the past week and topped $4.06 on Monday, according to auto club AAA.
The Biden administration announced plans to give more than $2 billion in COVID relief money to financially-strapped transit agencies in 18 states.
Another $1.5 billion in grants will be made available under President Biden's infrastructure law for transit energies to purchase lower- or no-emission buses made by U.S. workers and to build bus facilities.
Buttigieg said electric buses will create better, high-paying jobs and clean up congestion on freeways. He also said federal funds have been set aside to train the "diesel workers of today" to build and maintain the electric transit buses of the future.
"Clean transportation can bring significant cost savings for the American people as well," Buttigieg said.
"Today is about how we can deliver cleaner air, a better climate, affordable transportation, and good jobs all at once," Buttigieg said.
Experts have previously told Fox Business that the White House’s grand ambition to expand charging stations for electric vehicles will not help the areas that need it most.
The Honorable Jason Isaac, director of Life:Powered at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, told FOX Business last month the Biden administrator’s initiative was "more of the government trying to pick winners and losers."
"[W]hen they do that, as we’ve seen first-hand here in Texas with our electric grid, the American people end up the losers regardless of any subsidies or dollars that are being pushed."
Ryan Sitton, a former Texas energy regulator and founder and CEO of Pinnacle Reliability, previously told FOX Business that EV adoption would likely impose a roughly 30% increase in demand on the national grid, while Tesla CEO Elon Musk told Reuters it would double total global demand for electricity.
FOX Business’ Peter Aitken and The Associated Press contributed to this report.