A major auto dealer in the Washington, D.C. area sounded the alarm on customers' distaste or disinterest in electic vehicles, in spite of the Biden administration's subsidizing and encouragement of EV production and the looming internal-combustion-engine bans by more than a dozen states.

Paul LaRochelle, vice president of Sheehy Auto Stores – which has numerous dealerships from Hagerstown, Md., to Richmond, Va. – told FOX News it is not necessarily his own opinion or those of other dealers pushing back against the government, but the customers themselves.

LaRochelle told "The Ingraham Angle" about an exchange that occurred moments before air where a customer asked about a particular car in one of Sheehy's showrooms. LaRochelle told the customer it was an EV, to which the customer scoffed and asked rhetorically what they would have to deal with if it broke down or ran out of charge on nearby U.S.-50 in the middle of rush hour.


President Biden previously set a goal of ensuring 50% of car purchases are electric by 2030. The White House said EPAs recent tailpipe rules would provide a "clear pathway for a continued rise in EV sales."

President Biden previously set a goal of ensuring 50% of car purchases are electric by 2030. The White House said EPAs recent tailpipe rules would provide a "clear pathway for a continued rise in EV sales." (Anna Moneymaker/Pool/Getty Images | Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

"There's no jumpstarting [them] – you have to get a flatbed rolloff to get your car off the Beltway and out of harm's way," he said, adding that he and other signatories of a "Voice of the Customer" letter to the feds simply want a more "pragmatic" approach to any EV transition.

"Slow this mandate down, give the American public more time: Let us make cars, too, that become, over time, a little bit more affordable," LaRochelle said.

To date, 13 states have or will institute bans or restrictions on internal-combustion engine-powered car sales in the near future – led by California and including New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Virginia, Vermont, Oregon, Maine, Connecticut, Colorado, Rhode Island, Washington and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In Virginia's case, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin has been trying to get the Commonwealth out of its scheduled EV mandate, which was instituted under his predecessor, Democrat Ralph Northam – who tied the Old Dominion to California's standards.


On FOX News, LaRochelle added that customers who have purchased EV cars have at times returned them at "quite a great rate," saying complaints have included unexpectedly insufficient charging range, and a lack of charging locations in their home area.

He also said there is an affordability issue with EV's at the moment, remarking that a Washington-area military member or schoolteacher may not be able to afford a $60-80,000 vehicle.

"That's why we titled [our letter] The Voice of the Customer, because, again, not everybody can afford this. It's not a practical means of transportation; affordable transportation for everybody," he said.

"And again, we're asking the administration just simply to slow this down."

LaRochelle also mentioned host Laura Ingraham's concern over the sourcing of rare earth minerals needed for EV batteries, which liberals have pushed to come from China rather than North America.

In a Thursday interview on FOX Business' "Kudlow," Rep. John James, R-Mich., said his region has deposits of such minerals, while other conservatives have also called for such key elements to be sourced domestically rather than increase American dependence on China.


In 2018, then-Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., who was previously the mayor of Hazleton, said his area – once the epicenter of coalmining – is one place to start extracting the minerals. 

"Studies have shown that the Appalachian coalfields in Pennsylvania contain some of the highest concentrations of REEs in the country," Barletta said of the area from President Biden's Scranton hometown south to Allentown and west to Shamokin.

"Researchers have found ways to extract REEs from Appalachian coal byproducts that are more environmentally friendly than traditional methods and require less energy."

Such industry, however, faces a steeper regulatory burden in the U.S. than in China.