Biden Test-Drives New Truck to Promote
May 19, 2021
On a day many motorists in the southeastern United States could not find
gasoline, President Joe Biden promoted the transition to electrical vehicles
while warning that China is ahead in the race to build the next-generation
"They think they're going to win, but I got news for them. They will not win
this race. We can't let them. We have to move fast," said the president during a
visit to a Michigan plant where electric pickup trucks are made.
Ford on Wednesday will formally unveil its F-150 Lightning, an all-electric
version of its best-selling pickup truck, which the president drove on a test
track following his remarks.
"We're going to set a new pace for electric vehicles," Biden promised. "That
means reversing the previous administration's shortsighted rollback of vehicle
emissions and efficiency standards."
The president made the remarks after a tour of the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle
Center in Dearborn, the latest of his road trips to promote his sweeping
economic revitalization legislative packages.
"We're at an inflection point in America," the president told a group of Ford
employees during the tour.
Biden's $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, which would need to be approved by
Congress, calls for $174 billion in funding for electric vehicles. He has also
set a goal of reaching net-zero emissions for the U.S. economy by no later than
To achieve that goal, existing nuclear power plants are "going to be absolutely
essential," the White House's national climate adviser, Gina McCarthy, told a
virtual event of the Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy on
Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency, a Paris-based intergovernmental
organization that until now has generally supported the fossil fuel industry,
surprised experts Tuesday by saying investors should not fund new oil, gas and
coal supply projects if the world is to achieve net-zero emissions by
"The IEA's pathway to this brighter future brings a historic surge in clean
energy investment that creates millions of new jobs and lifts global economic
growth. Moving the world onto that pathway requires strong and credible policy
actions from governments, underpinned by much greater international
cooperation," said Fatih Birol, the IEA executive director.
Daniel Stewart, senior research associate at As You Sow, a nonprofit
organization that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility,
noted the agency's about-face. "Until now, the IEA's research has been used to
play down transition risks faced by the fossil fuel industry and as a support
for inadequate energy and climate policy," he said.
Biden's visit to the electric truck facility came amid a continuing fuel crunch
in more than a dozen U.S. states. Panic buying of gasoline was triggered by the
shutdown of a key pipeline targeted by cybercriminals.
The 8,900-kilometer Colonial Pipeline has resumed operations and the gasoline
supply chain is gradually recovering, although the company confirmed a new
network issue on Tuesday after shippers reported difficulty scheduling fuel
"Our internal server that runs our nomination system experienced intermittent
disruptions this morning due to some of the hardening efforts that are ongoing
and part of our restoration process," the company told VOA.
A nomination refers to a type of service request that identifies the amount of
gas a shipper expects to transport through the pipeline.
"These issues were not related to the ransomware or any type of reinfection,"
the company said. "We are working diligently to bring our nomination system back
online and will continue to keep our shippers updated. The Colonial Pipeline
system continues to deliver refined products as nominated by our shippers."
A prolonged network outage, however, would prevent shippers from scheduling
deliveries amid a high demand for fuel following the reopening of the pipeline.
Just kilometers from the White House, the gas crunch remains evident, with 70%
of filling stations in Washington still without fuel on Tuesday, although that
was down from about 90% from just a few days ago.
Such problems highlight the need for more electric vehicles, according to
proponents of the technology. But a quick transition away from internal
combustion engines depends on the availability of such affordable vehicles,
ample charging stations and improvements in battery technology to improve range.
America's legacy automakers are making the transition, hoping to put their
downturn far in the rearview mirror after the economy of Michigan — and
especially its largest city, Detroit — went into a decadeslong decline as
Japanese auto manufacturing surpassed American production.
$1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, signed into law by Biden in mid-March, aims
to pump more than $10 billion into Michigan in fiscal relief at the local and
state level, plus create thousands of clean energy jobs, according to the White
Republicans in Congress in general have opposed the Democratic president's
spending packages, contending they include much unnecessary and wasteful
"The total amount of funding it would direct to roads, bridges, ports, waterways
and airports combined adds up to less than what it would spend just on electric
cars," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said last month of Biden's
infrastructure package. "The far left sees a strong family resemblance between
these proposals and their socialist 'Green New Deal.'"
The Green New Deal is a group of goals advanced by some Democrats, especially
from the party's progressive wing, which goes beyond environmental policy and
calls for universal health care, affordable housing, good-paying jobs for all
and stronger labor rights.
Biden has adopted some of these ideas in his ambitious legislative proposals.