Average Person Does Care About Gas Prices
It’s a good thing Sen. Debbie Stabenow doesn’t have to run for re-election for another two years. By then, the flap over her rather tone-deaf remarks about not caring about high gas prices may have blown over. Or not, if gasoline continues its upward trajectory following a temporary easing in late June.
Most folks are aware by now that—just as petrol was denting the $5-per-gallon mark on average—the Michigan Democrat said the record-high prices “don’t matter.”
They don’t matter to the out-of-touch senator because she drives an electric vehicle. She urged Americans to buy eco-friendly vehicles and decrease their dependence on greedy oil companies.
Just one problem with that. In June, Kelly Blue Book placed the average cost of an electric vehicle at more than $56,000.
That’s about $3,000 less than the average Michigan household’s annual earnings from 2016-20.
I’m still recovering from sticker shock when we traded in our aging Ford last August for a Honda with 110,000 miles on it. With trade-in, our cost was just over one-fourth of the average price of a new electric car.
I’ve never considered myself poor. But neither do I want to strap our household budget to a five- or six-year payment plan costing several hundred dollars a month.
That’s why I often wonder how electric-car advocates expect the rest of us average folks to pony up for vehicles that will succeed in driving us to the Poor House.
Were millions to rush out and follow the senator’s advice, consider the fact that there wouldn’t be enough electric charging stations to meet all the resulting demand.
That’s only one problem.
Another is the expense awaiting owners as cars age and EV batteries wear out. If the entire battery pack has to be replaced, the cost can run between $5,000 and $15,000, according to Consumer Reports.
Such eye-popping numbers are one reason Sen. Stabenow’s comments quickly drew backlash on social media.
One Twitter user joked, “Let them buy Teslas!,” a reference to the legendary Marie-Antoinette’s “Let them eat cake!” remark that supposedly helped fuel the French Revolution.
The irony is that Marie-Antoinette never said that. Previously, I had heard that the remark originated with a supposedly twisted quote, passed along by a supporter of the French Revolution.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, that wasn’t the case. It said contemporary researchers found no evidence of the quote in newspapers, pamphlets, or other materials published by revolutionaries.
Plus, the earliest known source connecting the quote with the queen was published more than 50 years after the revolution.
Concluded the encyclopedia: “In an 1843 issue of the journal Les Guêpes, the French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr reported having found the quote in a ‘book dated 1760,’ which he said proved that the rumor about Marie-Antoinette was false.
“Rumor? Like so many of us, he was probably just repeating something he had heard.”
The truth about Marie-Antoinette will likely be of small comfort during Sen. Stabenow’s next campaign, though. I can easily imagine bumper stickers spreading far and wide across Michigan (and beyond), declaring, “Let them drive Teslas!”