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As Illinois subsidizes EV industry, auto analyst says gas-powered engines here to stay

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(The Center Square) – The state of Illinois has been on a fast track to get motorists to buy electric vehicles, but an auto analyst says gas-powered engines will be around for some time.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, whose goal is to have one million electric vehicles on Illinois roads within six years, has admitted that demand for EVs has tailed off.

Auto analyst Alan Baum of Baum and Associates said there were expectations that the Big 3 automakers were going to start producing a large volume of EVs at affordable prices.

“That kind of fell short,” said Baum. “There have been significant problems with both the automakers and some of their suppliers and that has led to higher costs and therefore higher prices, which led to declines in consumer uptick.”

In Illinois, EV charging anxiety may still be an issue, especially in rural areas of the state. A recent EV infrastructure study showed that Illinois has 3.3 charging ports per 10,000 drivers. That is compared to 33 in the District of Columbia. In April, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency announced plans to spend more that $25 million on EV charging infrastructure.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized strict new rules on vehicle emissions that will push the auto industry to accelerate its transition to electric vehicles. Under the new rules, the EPA expects that EVs could account for up to 56% of new passenger vehicles sold for model years 2030 through 2032.

The Illinois Corn Growers Association has joined industry groups in a lawsuit to pressure the EPA to pump the brakes on proposed auto tailpipe rules.

Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Engine Technology Forum, said automakers continue to produce increasingly efficient advanced vehicles powered by gasoline, hybrid-electric and diesel internal combustion engines, which represent approximately 90% of the market today.

“We think that the internal combustion engine still has plenty of useful life left and has a great opportunity to contribute substantially to helping reduce greenhouse gas and other emissions in the years ahead,” said Schaeffer.

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