As we look ahead to the 2024 presidential election, there’s a big question on the minds of many in the auto industry: What happens if Donald Trump wins? The answer could significantly impact the direction of car manufacturing and sales in the United States, especially when it comes to electric vehicles (EVs). However, it could also impact fuel prices.

From Biden to Trump: A U-Turn on EVs?

Under President Joe Biden, the shift toward electric vehicles (EVs) has accelerated, supported by significant investments like the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These policies aim to make EVs more accessible through subsidies, develop charging infrastructure, and support the transition of the auto industry workforce.

Contrastingly, Donald Trump’s approach favors traditional gasoline-powered vehicles, proposing to reverse Biden’s EV-centric initiatives. This potential policy shift raises questions about the future pace of EV adoption in the U.S.

Despite a narrative of declining interest, the EV market is robust, with 2023 marking a record 1.2 million EV sales in the U.S. Looking ahead, Cox Automotive forecasts that EVs will constitute 10% of the total U.S. auto market by 2024. However, this projection implies that 90% of vehicles will still rely on internal combustion engines, highlighting the continued importance of gasoline for the majority of drivers.

Gas Prices: A Key Factor

One significant aspect of Trump’s presidency was lower fuel prices, providing economic relief for many Americans. Under Trump, the national average gas price in 2020, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, was $2.168 per gallon. In contrast, during Biden’s term, gas prices surged to an all-time high of $5.02 per gallon on June 14, 2022, according to CNN Business. This stark difference underscores the potential impact of presidential policies on fuel costs.

While a shift back to policies favoring gasoline vehicles might slow the momentum towards EVs, it could also lead to lower gas prices. For the foreseeable future, with 90% of vehicles still anticipated to run on fuel in 2024, the prospect of reduced fuel costs under a Trump administration could offer immediate economic benefits to the majority of drivers.

The broader question remains about the long-term direction of the U.S. auto industry. Trump’s potential policy reversals could temporarily boost the traditional auto sector but might also risk the U.S.’s position in the global EV market, especially against competitors like China.

As the 2024 election approaches, the auto industry stands at a crossroads between continuing the push towards electrification or reverting to a focus on gasoline-powered vehicles. While the short-term benefits of lower gas prices under Trump’s policies are clear, the long-term implications for the U.S. auto industry and its position in the evolving global market for electric vehicles warrant careful consideration.

Author: Abbie Clark

Title: Co-Founder

Expertise: Automotive Industry, Electric Vehicles, DIY Car Repairs

Bio:

Abbie Clark is a writer, blog, and founder of RideRambler, Hey She Thrives, and The Bearded Bunch.

From clever car cleaning tricks to the freshest car features and reviews, Abbie loves sharing her knowledge on everything automotive. Outside of her time writing for her websites, you’ll find her fishing with her husband, deciphering her toddler’s babbling, or baking up something sweet.

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