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Electric Cars Save Lives in Texas; South Dakota Promoting Tesla Taxes

Here’s one more example of how Kristi Noem’s blathering against the green energy revolution runs counter to smart things we can do to brace ourselves for bad weather and power outages: in frigid Texas, electric cars have provided folks suffering power outages a safe way to stay warm:

As Texans gradually regain power after days of catastrophic outages amid freezing temperatures, some Tesla customers are grateful for their electric cars which provided critical emergency power.

For example, one Reddit user posted in the r/Teslamotors subreddit that, after running out of firewood, the family including an infant slept in their Model 3 with the heat on while it was parked in the garage. This can be safely done in an electric vehicle because it produces no emissions, but it would be fatal with a gas-powered car that emits toxic carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide poisonings have skyrocketed in Texas this week, and two people in Houston died from carbon monoxide poisoning while sleeping in the family car in the garage while it was running.

Tesla also sells solar panels and a home battery called a PowerWall, and another Reddit user posted that he was “very grateful” to have one during the rolling blackouts. The non-emergency value proposition for solar installations with batteries is to power the home with stored electricity from the battery during peak usage hours with higher rates, but the battery can also serve as emergency backup [Aaron Gordon, “Texas Tesla Owners Are Drawing Power from Their Cars During Blackouts,” Vice, 2021.02.18].

But don’t let good deeds and good technology go unpunished: the Legislature is still trying to tax your Tesla. House Bill 1053‘s new tax on electric cars has been cut from $100 to $50 a year, but it’s still alive and awaiting a final debate and vote on the Senate floor next week.


  1. jerry 2021-02-19 11:27

    Tax and Spend South Dakota legislators are to ignorant to understand renewable energy and why it’s so important to our state. ” South Dakota is among the states with the highest percentage of electricity generation from renewable resources, typically over 70 percent. In 2011, South Dakota became the first U.S. state to have at least 20% of its electricity generation come from wind power.”

  2. Ron 2021-02-19 12:04

    Electric vehicle owners should support maintenance of the roads they drive on and don’t by avoiding paying gasoline tax. An annual $50.00 fee is not unreasonable. Also, if the electricity is off, I will pick a gas powered vehicle over an electric vehicle every time.

  3. cibvet 2021-02-19 17:05

    Don’t forget it takes electricity to pump gas at the pumps. Out of battery power, done, out of gas, done.

  4. Ron 2021-02-19 17:07

    I suspect you are more likely to find a generator running gas pumps than a generator running an electric vehicle charging station but that is only wild-eyed speculation.

  5. mike from iowa 2021-02-19 18:20

    I pumped beaucoup gallons of diesel fuel from tank in the back of a pickup into thirsty diesel tractor with no more than an armstrong pump handle that pumped both ways. No electricity needed.

  6. Ron 2021-02-19 18:33

    Mike from Iowa

    Been there and done that too – thanks for bringing back the memory 😊

  7. John 2021-02-19 20:15

    All road vehicle taxing should be commensurate to vehicle weight. Vehicle weight is the sole determinate of damage, wear, and tear caused on highways. Before the no-nothing legislature runs around taxing light e-vehicles (are the fools going to tax e-motorcycles and e-bikes?) the legislature should rescind the waivers for agricultural vehicles paying gas tax – whether or not used on our highways (because they are used on our highways).

    Highway engineers completed and re-validated studies that highway damage, wear, and tear is EXPONENTIALLY higher based upon the weight of vehicles. The South Dakota road maintenance taxing scheme should reflect contributions to road damage before it wastes time chasing dimes in front of bulldozer.

  8. cibvet 2021-02-20 09:58

    Been a while since I farmed but my fuel tanks were on stands so gravity was used to fill the tank in the back of the pickup and 12 volt electricity pump into the tractor. Of course I was in SD and we were progressive in spite of the regressive state we worked in.

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