Pete Buttigieg fires back after Elon Musk blasts federal spending on EVs, saying ‘there are things that don’t happen on their own’

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US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Tuesday lashed out at Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s criticism of the Biden administration’s efforts to boost adoption of electric vehicles.

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Speaking Monday night at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit, Musk had said President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion social-spend and climate bill should not pass and the government should “just try to get out of the way.” ”

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That bill, known as the Build Back Better Act, proposes a tax credit of up to $12,500 for EVs. A portion of that total — $4,500 — only goes to union-built vehicles assembled in the US, so Tesla, Toyota TM,
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Boss on Monday night also criticized a provision in a bipartisan infrastructure law that provides $7.5 billion for EV charging stations.

But Buttigieg, speaking at the same WSJ event Tuesday morning, argued that with the auto market going electric on its own, “there are three things that won’t happen automatically.”

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“One: it should be fast enough to meet our climate challenges,” said the head of the Department of Transportation.

“Two: to have it equitably that will actually reach the Americans who theoretically stand to benefit most from EVs – low-income, urban Americans, rural drivers – but they capture only those benefits. In the first place if they can afford to. And third, the importance of making sure this electric-vehicle revolution happens in America and creates well-paying jobs. And, of course, we believe in the benefits of union jobs. Huh.”

Buttigieg continued: “These are things that don’t happen on their own. They need policy attention, and that’s part of our focus in both the charging network that’s supported by the infrastructure bill signed by the president, and Tax credits that will make these vehicles more affordable are proposed in Build Back Better.

The former Democratic presidential candidate said the $12,500 tax credit could buy the cost of a $40,000 electric truck “into the high 20s,” and mean “millions more Americans who can join the electric-vehicle revolution.”

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