North Carolina Republicans Push Bill Forcing Towns To Destroy Electric Car Chargers

from the legislation-by-brain-fart dept

The core GOP belief in “small government” and “free markets” and “no taxpayer waste” doesn’t hold up quite as well as it used to to scrutiny, assuming it ever did at all.

Case in point: in North Carolina, Trump GOP lawmaker Ben Moss has pushed forward a ridiculous bill (HB 1049) that would require towns and cities use up to $50,000 in taxpayer funds to destroy free electric vehicle stations on public land, if local authorities don’t build free gas and diesel pumps alongside them. There’s, of course, no provision included in the bill that works in the opposite direction.

The bill is extremely likely the direct result of some local oil industry lobbyist throwing a terrible, ghost written bill in the lap of a corrupt lawmaker who didn’t even bother to read it (how most bills are born these days). Or, it’s an unprompted attention seeking bill by Moss letting his sponsors in the oil industry know he’s ready and excited to play ball as a new lawmaker. Either one is, of course, bad.

Moss, of course, frames the unnecessary law as a benefit to taxpayers:

The bill even goes so far as to include a bizarre little measure requiring that any person or company that puts a free electric charging station on their property, itemize “the percentage of the amount of the customer’s total purchase price that is a result of the business providing electric vehicle charging stations at no charge” on every receipt for every purchase.

It’s a dumb little way to generate ire among customers who don’t use the charging station that they’re paying for through their purchases. And the bill itself is a desperate quest to stall the progress of organic electric market growth on behest of an industry not keen on disruption. All dressed up, as Trump Republicans love to do, as some kind of exciting, big win for the little guy.

The bill (which can be tracked here) hasn’t been passed and isn’t likely to now that it has received nationwide attention for being monumentally stupid. But I’ve seen countless, very similar bills (especially related to telecom and community broadband) that often see no such attention or challenge on their way from dumb, corruption-fueled brain fart to dumb, corruption-fueled law.

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Comments on “North Carolina Republicans Push Bill Forcing Towns To Destroy Electric Car Chargers”

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pdegroot says:

Re: Re:

Liberalism is a philosophy built on the concept of personal freedom, from Latin “līber” (free, unrestricted”). It believes that individuals should be free to make choices best for them (without harming others) and that society as a whole will be more innovative, fair, and tolerant as a result.
What’s your beef with that?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

There’s a difference in kind here. Some solar panels and a charging station is a relatively small, upfront investment. For gasoline, you need an oil derrick, refinery, gas tank, and pump, plus whatever pipelines or trucks you plan on moving the stuff about in (I don’t think NC sits on an oil field), plus the personnel required to work each of those.

If you don’t see a difference there…I’m not sure I can help you.

Naughty Autie says:

Re: Re:

Here’s the thing, fuel companies get subsidies that are supposed to go back to the consumer in the form of reduced prices but never do. Whereas ‘free’ charging is paid for by the taxpayer like the subsidies are, and actually come back to the consumer every time they charge their EV. Which do you prefer?

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
RyunosukeKusanagi (profile) says:

here’s the thing though….

our town.. which is probably as red as NC. put in EV charging stations… and it’s a source of revinue for the town. ie. the town is selling power to charge EVs.

I mean, it’s not much, I see maybe 5 cars charging there a week, it’s a small town out in the middle of nowhere, but it does two things, it puts a charging station out here in the middle of nowhere, and the town gets some change out of it.

Wordragon says:

Re: Way too generous.

On a typical commercial 30A charger, I get about 24 miles of range added per hour, for which I pay about $0.70. Perhaps they could amend the bill to give gas or diesel at the rate of $0.70 per hour parked there – so about 6-7 hours/gallon. It has the added benefit of reducing emissions as the car is off for 5-6 days while filling its tank.

Also, for Bill Moss who wants to see American made electric cars: does an “American-Made Index” which measures how much “American” is actually in car models sold in the US. For 2021, #1 and #3 on the list were the Tesla Model 3 and the Tesla Model Y, respectively. Where is your car on that list, Bill?

Anonymous Coward says:

Nothing organic going on here

There’s nothing organic about something being pushed by spending government $$$ to significantly reduce the cost of it. Not saying it’s good or bad that we’re choosing to subsidize the huge cost of electric vehicles, just pointing out that pretending that the growth of the electric market has been anything natural or “organic” is just flat wrong.
If we’re going to have any hope of making honest progress improving here we need to be aware of the actual costs we’re putting in to get there.

David says:


Nobody is pretending that the EV market is developing at its “natural” pace. It’s policy-driven for sure. Like the hydrogen vehicle development it suffers from the problem of kicking the can down the road: it stops the dependency on one particular energy source but there is no real storyline about what primary energy source is to replace oil here.

If there is no answer to that, we’ll have a lot of vehicles taken off the road for a lack of affordable energy, electric or not.

And one problem is that the EV activism is detracting from solving the principal problem, namely our live styles being far too energy intense to be compatible with maintaining a habitable planet. Even futuristic “sustainable” things like giant mirrors in space beaming microwaves to receivers on planet surface suffer from releasing more energy on Earth than the current sun exposure.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

our live styles being far too energy intense to be compatible with maintaining a habitable planet.

There’s plenty of clean renewable energy available.

“A total of 173,000 terawatts (trillions of watts) of solar energy strikes the Earth continuously. That’s more than 10,000 times the world’s total energy use.”

And that’s just solar. The problem is where we’re getting the energy, not how much energy we’re using.

David says:

Re: Re:

Wait til you find out about the massive subsidies we give to fossil fuel companies.

That is just good old trickle-down economy and a substantial portion ends up in the pockets of our lawmakers, benefitting us all.

One would be tempted to state that EVs just don’t have established the same infrastructure yet, except, well, guess where pretty much all energy to be put into EVs is supposed to come from.

Michigan says:

And yet...

The state offers numerous tax incentives to try to lure business to the state. See:

Offering free charging is a way to draw potentially new business into a downtown business district. It is the *hyper-local* version of the state-incentivized tax deals. I make use of one such station in mid Michigan, and I will often have breakfast or dinner at one of the nearby restaurants… something I would not have done, if there weren’t free power in that business district.

David (profile) says:

I can sort of see their point. Why is the government paying to charge electric vehicles? I know it isn’t expensive but it’s just another government give away for a small portion of the population. Why should I, a tax payer, supplement the income of other tax payers? If you look at the price of electric cars, you have to be a taxpayer in order to afford an electric car. Just reduce taxes and be done with it. Everyone benefits.

David says:


I suggest that you compare the agendas of the Whig Party and of the Republican Party split off under Lincoln.

The problem is not that it’s hard to find good Republicans these days. The problem is that it’s hard to find any at all.

I am pretty sure that Lincoln would have quite different ideas about who to label “Republican in name only” than, well, Trump and his acolytes have. It’s actually embarrassing that there really is no sensible way around mentioning the has-been Trump when looking at what the Republican Party is these days.

But then it’s not that Trump moved what the Republican Party is about. It’s more that he taught them being shameless about it.

He’d know the answer to the question spelling the beginning of the downfall of McCarthy (the old one, not related to the current embarrassment): “Do you have no shame?”.

He hasn’t, and he’s proud of it. And that is the kind of freedom the Republican Party has been yearning for.

Anonymous Coward says:

Democrats NEVER do this kind of thing, only "Trump Republicans"?

Because Democrats never pull this kind of stupidity. No, never. Only “Trump Republicans” as though that’s another party?

Come on. Stop calling yourself a journalist. You tout this site as journalistic. Give the crap a rest. Trump’s an idiot, but stop trying to gain readers stoking other idiot fires.

This is a dumb thing to do, just on its face. Just say that already.

Rocky says:


Because Democrats never pull this kind of stupidity. No, never.

Coming to a conclusion based on preconceptions and laziness. My suggestion is that you stop commenting until informed yourself – because there are many articles on Techdirt pointing out idiocy that Democrats also do.

Now, there’s a difference in the stupid things they do – Republican’s stupidity is mostly manifested as performative, anti democratic or just plain batshit crazy while the Democrats stupidity is manifested as trying to fix things that actually makes it worse.

Jerry Dunaway says:

Re: Re:

Actually (sadly) the democrats’ stupidity is trying to do the right thing, and thinking somehow their (maybe not entirely, but at least mostly) logical bills will appeal to enough republicans to ensure passage.

Unfortunately, the days of republicans (all senators and most representatives( voting their conscience (or voting for legislation that might actually be good for the country) are long gone. Now they vote in lockstep against anything democrats propose. The dynamic was already headed this way, but it became the standard once McConnell said his goal was to prevent any democratic bills from succeeding…

Naughty Autie says:

Re: Re: Re:

Actually (sadly) the democrats’ stupidity is trying to do the right thing, and thinking somehow their (maybe not entirely, but at least mostly) logical bills will appeal to enough republicans to ensure passage.

Actually, they do. The issue is it’s because the bills are so broken they won’t have the imagined effect, but the Democrats writing them are too stupid to see that even when it’s pointed out to them.

David says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Actually (sadly) the democrats’ stupidity is trying to do the right thing, and thinking somehow their (maybe not entirely, but at least mostly) logical bills will appeal to enough republicans to ensure passage.

No, there are enough Democratic-sponsored bills that are stupid on their own merits without a reasonable view to blame Republicans for it. And Techdirt points out a fair share of them.

As you cross from utterly misguided to outright malicious, there does seem to be more of a Republican tendency to go right off the cliff.

A two-party system is too coarse to represent a fine-grained spectrum of common sense. It’s not much of a surprise that there is a lot of infighting in the Democratic Party for that reason.

What is disconcerting is that there is rather little infighting in the Republican Party, and it’s not because everybody is sane and reasonable.

Jeremy says:

There's free gas stations on public land

You complain the reverse isn’t true. But are there any free gas stations on public land? I mean, if the reverse was added to the law, what affect would it have had? If there’s no free gas on public land right now, then saying any free gas stations on public land has to have free charging stations wouldn’t cost anything.

Lostinlodos (profile) says:

Stupid in the eyes of the viewer

Many topics. Many concerns.

…generate ire among customers who don’t use the charging station that they’re paying for through their purchases.

Easy fix, if you don’t like the prices go elsewhere. Sod off. End of discussion. Private business.

…on public land…

Well, why should the general public pay to fuel private cars?!!!!?

What bothers me here is the “destroy” aspect. The thing missing from the bill is an incentive to convert the free stations to competitively priced pay stations.

State or federal, government is doing to much give without equal cutting elsewhere.

There is not a state in the union, nor the federal government, that couldn’t balance the budget and support all the post 2020 socialisation simply by cutting stupid spending elsewhere.

Destroying, via public money, rather than conversion to a cash sink, is downright idiotic.

Lostinlodos (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You may have missed my point.
I A) want paid charging stations on public land
B) think paid charging stations are a good way for government earning

Along with that I believe spending to remove public charging stations outright is ludicrous!
A typical sign of partisan stupidity. Spend money to build. Then spend money to destroy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Here’s what you’re missing: if governments site free charging stations on public land in shopping districts, people are tempted to go off spending while they wait for their EV to charge up, raising revenue for the town. In addition, if companies like Shell have free charging stations on their forecourts and towns have to charge for theirs, guess where that spending money’s more likely to go.

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