Why Wyoming Stopped EV Charging Station Buildout
Sometime last year I was on the air talking about subsidized electric vehicle (EV) charging stations being offered to business owners across Wyoming.
At the time I was asking why we needed federal government money to pay for something like this.
Gas stations have never had subsidies.
Yet we have gas stations all over the nation.
A fellow who owns a gas station in Wyoming call me on the Wake Up Wyoming morning show and described how the state of Wyoming had shown up with federal money and a deal.
The station owner would get most of the money, from the federal government, to install charging stations. Then, in a few years, the charging stations would become his.
I realized, quickly, that we would have a problem with dead charging stations around the state.
Everything breaks down, eventually.
If an EV station was not making a profit, or operating at a loss, what incentive would the station owner have to repair it?
We would end up with dead charging stations all over Wyoming.
It turns out, I was right.
An arcicle just released by Cowboy State Daily shows the devil in the details that comes with that federal money. Federal money always has string attached.
At the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Transportation Highways Military Affairs meeting last week, Darin Westby, interim WYDOT director, said that research the department has done suggests these stations won’t be profitable for 20 years, let alone in five when federal support money would run out.
BUT HOLD ON!
This gets worse.
Should a station owner decide that the charging unitis on his propery were not worth it and he wanted them removed, the state of Wyoming would owe the federal government a lot of money.
The wording of the legislation that created the NEVI program, Westby explained, suggests that if a station owner were to decide not to continue running a station at the end of the five years of operational support, the owner could ask the station be removed from the property. The state would have to pay for the removal and reimburse the federal government for any federal money used to construct and support it.
Because of this, those new EV stations have been paused in Wyoming.
“We pulled back the reins on the NEVI program. We had the RFP sitting on the shelf. It was ready to go out the door. At the last moment, we pulled back and said, ‘Let’s pause,’” Westby said.
As I updated my listeners, using this Cowboy State Daily article I got a call from a listener in Colorado.
Colorado plans to raise monthly electric utility charges for everyone in the state to help pay for electric vehicle charging.
That's not going to sit well with people who own gas and diesel vehicles.
The governor of Colorado wants to mandate that all new buildings in the state have electric charging stations.
Imagine the outrage if all new buildings were mandated to have gas pumps.
The answer to all of this is simple:
Quit subsidizing at every level.
If people want EVs then they will buy them.
If enough people buy them then EV charging stations will start popping up all over the nation, just like gas pumps did.
Let the market work it out.
If EVs fail, then so be it.
If they win over the internal combustion engine, so be it.
That's how a free market works.