Andrew Yang Wants Buybacks... for Your Car?

Entrepreneur and Democratic presidential longshot Andrew Yang can have my diesel SUV when he pries the steering wheel from my cold, dead hands.

During Wednesday's seven-hour Climate Hoo-Ha ordeal on CNN, Yang offhandedly proposed buybacks of regular cars -- you know, the ones you can drive more than 300 miles even in winter, and can fill up anywhere to 100% in just a few minutes -- and stick us all in electric vehicles which he insists "we are all going to love."

He admits that there will still be some "legacy gas-guzzlers" on the roads when he's president, but "some" indicates the sheer scale of his ambition and/or ego. There are more than 270 million motor vehicles licensed in the United States alone -- the vast, vast majority of which are gas/diesel/hybrid. Annual passenger car/light truck sales are highly variable, but last year totaled about 17 million. If Yang were to wave a magic wand and mandate nothing but e-car production from now on, it would still take about 15 years to replace American's existing inventory of ICE vehicles.

Actually, it would take longer, because e-cars cost more and so people would hang on to their old gas/diesel/hybrid vehicles for even longer than we do now. Also, it's not going to happen because there's no way the carmakers of the world could retool that quickly. Then there's the tiny little issue of sourcing enough lithium required for all those batteries. Let's also wonder a moment over the logistics of junking an additional few million cars each year. If you don't want an electric vehicle? If you can't afford an electric vehicle? Don't you worry your pretty little head: Yang knows what's best for you.

One more thing -- and I know this last item is anathema to our Democratic friend -- but how the hell is Washington going to come up with the money to buy up all those cars? We're going to have to emit a lot more carbon dioxide to provide enough for all the money trees Yang needs to grow.

In short, Yang is just blurting out whatever he thinks Democrat voters and CNN viewers (but I repeat myself) want to hear.