Should Vermont Ban the Internal Combustion Engine?

by Rob Roper

If we really want to save the planet from climate change, the real solution is to ban the internal combustion engine. I bring this up because, I am told by two legislators in a position to know, that this was a serious topic of debate last week in the House Energy & Technology committee.

What sparked the conversation was testimony by Jon Erickson, the “David Blittersdorf Professor of Sustainability Science & Policy” at UVM. (Yes, there is such a thing. This is not a belated April Fools post, as much as it might sound like one.) The committee was lamenting the fact that Vermont has failed pretty miserably at meeting the emission reduction goals set out by the legislature, and someone asked what would have to be done if we seriously intend to meet those goals. Answer: ban the internal combustion engine.

Well, it might be the only policy that could get anyone to ride David Blittersdorff’s proposed, taxpayer-subsidized train from St. Albans to the Global Foundries campus in Essex, so perhaps that’s why his endowed professor pushed the concept. Although, without a cab ride from Essex to Burlington or Williston, you’d really be stuck in the middle of nowhere when you got off that train, so maybe not.

I’m left shaking my head. This is the most bizarre legislative session I’ve ever experienced. There is serious talk of making Vermonters pay reparations for slavery, the annual joke bill banning plastic bags is now poised to become law, a legislator voted against the $6.1 billion budget because she thinks it will lead to “planetary collapse,” the chairman of the Transportation Committee doesn’t own a car… so, who needs the internal combustion engine anymore!

How do you take all this seriously — except for the fact that these people are spending $6.1 billion of our hard earned money to actually do these things. It’s as if we came across a group of college kids getting all politically philosophical while eating pizza, drinking beer and doing bong hits late night in the dorm and decided, what the heck, let’s let these people run our state! What could go wrong?

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

John de Bruin April 8, 2019 at 10:46 pm

Shame this entire session is not an April Fools joke…it would be easier to swallow. In my 37 years in Vermont I have NEVER experienced such ignorance, such left wing agenda effluent pouring out of the Statehouse. This current batch of “lawmakers” have lost all reality as well as their last micron of common sense.
If things are not turned around in 2020 this state will be lost forever.


Mary Daly April 9, 2019 at 3:01 pm

I’m wondering if we will survive this session. It is past time for Republicans to get it together and elect good conservative Representatives and Senators bot for Vermont and the National legislatures.


Doug Richmond April 13, 2019 at 1:45 am

Seems like someone asked a fresh-person legislator’
“What is the job of a legislator?”
“To pass laws”

All that can be said – except maybe “to spend the money”


Carol D April 13, 2019 at 1:06 pm

Where does the legislature think that the power comes from that charges these electric vehicles that they want to replace the combustion engine? Power grids and not all power grids run on hydro, wind or solar. That is somewhere down the road. Unfortunately, electric cars aren’t developed to the point where they are continuously self-charging and do not need outside sources and can travel unlimited distances. Somehow, I just can’t imagine having my electric car run out of power at the top of the Lincoln Gap or half way up Rte. 89 in a blinding snowstorm. Good ideas require balancing positives and negatives, and so far, the negatives outweigh the positives with electric powered vehicles in their present stage of evolution.


Thaddeus Cline April 14, 2019 at 1:14 am

Let’s see if it’s at all possible to check and understand our facts . Ones of course anyone could find out if they tried .
With more less the half the maintenance carbon causing cars already we see we lose costs . Then we see 75 cents equivalent Cost per gallon over 250 a gallon gas . And now rather we loss range anxiety With new electric cars getting better 250 and 280 miles with ones coming out in 2020 reaching 350 . And Tesla already very close to that . Then of course many get 80% charge in 15 minutes not much longer then a gas fill up . Places that draw in big bucks like Killington have 47 chargers . Don’t tell me you don’t want the rich from Connecticut leavening there money here.
And just in case you Like your private parts are not big enough and so have to prove that with speed and good looks . Many go faster then gas cars do . But of course your Fox News and rich oil people aren’t planning on telling you that . Conservatives are supposed to try and save money but what you do is only use the first 3 letters “con “. It’s big it’s called take money from the poor and make them think they are happy when there screwed . The IPPIC is international and they don’t make money they volunteer there information. Your con causes asthma, Brest cancer , and other cancers . The facts are easy but you go to the trouble of making big lies . Like your president who averages 3 a day ,that even you can figure out . Every car company has gone electric because the majority of developed and even under developed nations “ get it “ Subaru is the latest and 3 Koran company’s make cars for 28 thousand. And if ya know how to use a computer you can find a farm truck that costs only 5 thousand and goes 75 miles on one charge . Another unknown car company makes a full truck that gets 400 miles on a charge and is the size of an f 250 ford . Pick up .
That you plan on keeping people ill informed is clear and those with conservative branding powers greater then you keep even you more Neanderthal like then most .
In short lead around like a bull with a ring in its nose and putting out what comes out o& the back end . Sham sham on you and your fellow class mates from what ever school never listening to your teachers to be critical and take critical advice with grace . The hell you make is the hell you will get by ignoring Ice the size of states falling into the sea . Hurricanes in your own state and so on . If you patriotism is so grate go to Newport News in Virginia they got the Navy there but they need to move the streets flood . Soon no one will live there as will many in southern Florida. So while it’s already happening you seem to think doing a win win like saving money and keeping your Navy base should not happen everyone else but you sees like the nose with out a ring in it plain on the face your plan is a lose lose .


William Hays April 20, 2019 at 12:46 pm

Sorry, Mr. Cline. It is, truly, time for you to go back to “K, 1-English education and pay attention, this time. Your citations about ‘brest’ cancer, ‘Koran’ companies that make automobiles, and ‘f 250 ford’ trucks leave your silly comments by the wayside. More silliness prevails. Guess you are just one of the illiterates that are proponents of our “Camels Hump” crowd. Yes. Camels do, but…


Thaddeus Cline April 14, 2019 at 4:55 pm

What is that all developed nations and many under developed nations know that conservatives in Vt. Don’t know?
Everyone but a small few know ExxonMobil hide there own findings on climate change .
Everyone but a very few watch Nature shows that show land and animals missing . Ya have to go back millions of years to find a time when climate change happened like this and that several times didn’t happen as fast as it dose now . Hundreds of times climate models made by PHD’s fit what’s happened now and in the recent past. You like the foot ball owners that act like there surprised that hitting a head as hard as you can a number of time causes bad things to peoples brains . When dose proof cross the line for you ?


William Hays April 20, 2019 at 12:50 pm

…a UVM English scholar?


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