The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS2017) was overshadowed by President Elect Donald J. Trump’s tweets. Vice President Joe Biden walked through the Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan. While sitting in a Chrysler sedan, I asked Biden if could talk about electric cars. He spoke of the 25,000-mile electric charging station that he and President Obama had recently supported, citing that in ten to fifteen years the majority of vehicles will be electric and once the infrastructure is in place there would be less concern about driving range anxiety. Continental AG said basically the same thing in a different way that the internal combustion engine would reach its peak by 2025-2030.
CNBC’s Senior Contributor, host of “The Larry Kudlow Show,” and co-host of the John Batchelor radio show on Tuesdays asked about electric cars, natural gas vehicles and tax subsidies for any energy.
According to the Whitehouse website in 2008, there were less than 500 EV charging stations, as of 2016 there are over 16,000 EV stations. Certainly, there would not be as many hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery electric vehicles without subsidies.
Kudlow’s stance is that he doesn’t believe in subsidies, but the numbers for subsidization show it works; Hawaii spends $4-6 Billion a year importing petroleum. A savings of almost $700 a month in electricity and gasoline is what the Mayor of Hawaii reported after they put solar panels on their roof. The solar panels are part of Jumpstart Maui; a Government program increases the use of renewable energy in the County of Maui, Hawaii. That’s $700 a month in disposable income that can stay on the islands. A more important aspect is that Hawaii will not have to worry about the geopolitical variable pricing of petroleum.
Batchelor acknowledged that the auto industry sales are doing well, and asked if that enthusiasm would continue. His concern was the trade issues that Trump has been tweeting about. Are the jobs going to be coming back to the United States? Will a tax cut by Trump equal the import duties that are not charged by going through Mexico to South America, or Europe? What about arbitrage and currency hedging?
Kudlow says don’t jump ship, explaining that the auto industry should wait and see what Trump can do in the way of tax cuts for the auto industry.