Members of the Missouri House committee are arguing that requiring businesses to install electric vehicle chargers is an infringement on their freedoms. Instead, the government wants to ensure that cities and counties that do require such installation to pay the bill themselves. The bill is backed both by fossil fuel interests and the Missouri Retailers Association.
The transition to electrification in the automobile sector can only go so fast without the infrastructure to support it. A new bill up for debate in Missouri would potentially slow EV adoption as it shifts the weight of infrastructure costs away from businesses and onto local government. Republicans argue that aside from being an infringement on business owners’ rights, it’s also simply too expensive.
“We’ve gotten the cart before the horse in many, many ways,” said the sponsor of the bill, Republican Rep. Jim Murphy, from St. Louis County. “When we look at electric vehicles, are they the future? Maybe. Probably. But not assuredly… What we’re doing now is using building codes to push political agendas, and what this is — really it’s a new green deal piece of legislation to force people into something that they really can’t afford to do,” he said according to NPR.
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This isn’t the first time that Murphy, who has support from both the Missouri Retailers Association and fossil fuel interests, has introduced similar legislation. He first did so after St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis passed legislation requiring businesses to install chargers in some situations, such as when they’re expanding.
He seems convinced that more charging stations are bad for more than just the simple cost analysis. “If I put in 10 or 12 or 15 more spots that have electric charging stations and that parking lot is full and you pull in in your gas-guzzling pickup truck, are you going to park in that spot anyway?” Murphy said. “Is there going to be fistfights?”
On the other side of the debate, a representative of the Sierra Club, an environmental organization, Jack Meinzenbach argued that the bill needlessly imposes its rules. “I don’t like the fact that you are taking away local control from cities and counties,” he told the committee. “That’s what you guys have been doing for years.” He says that areas with more charging infrastructure draw more EV owners. That certainly sounds realistic.