Friday Funny: The Onion Satirizes the Federal Government’s Electric Car Fetish

The totally satirical, not-at-all-real website The Onion is back with another planning-related fake news take.

1 minute read

June 24, 2022, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Pick-Up Truck

Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock

“In keeping with its mission to address the nation’s environmental challenges, the Department of Energy introduced a new program Monday that provides pedestrians and cyclists with economic incentives to switch to electric vehicles,” according to a totally made up article by The Onion satirizing the wishful thinking about electric cars and the insistence on automobile dependency from every level of government in the United States.

The latest satire of planning-related news by The Onion was published just a few days before the Biden administration announced a proposed federal gas tax holiday, similar to gas tax holidays proposed by ostensibly liberal governors of state like California and New York in recent months—very real signs of the inability of Democratic political leadership to meaningfully address climate change.

Electric car programs have gained traction, despite all the gas tax holiday talk, as the variety of climate change action preferred by Democratic leadership, despite copious evidence of the limitations of electric vehicles for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Walking and cycling, as The Onion’s satire picks up on, would be a much more obvious, and effective, direction for climate change action. Still, biking and walking are not favored in the politics of transportation and land use planning.

Monday, June 13, 2022 in The Onion

Aerial view of homes on green hillsides in Daly City, California.

Depopulation Patterns Get Weird

A recent ranking of “declining” cities heavily features some of the most expensive cities in the country — including New York City and a half-dozen in the San Francisco Bay Area.

April 10, 2024 - California Planning & Development Report

Close-up of maroon California 'Clean Air Vehicle' carpool lane access sticker on the back bumper of a silver Tesla vehicle.

California EV Owners To Lose Carpool Lane Privilege

A program that began in 1999 to encourage more electric car ownership is set to expire next year without Congressional and state action.

April 2, 2024 - San Francisco Chronicle

Aerial view of Oakland, California with bay in background

California Exodus: Population Drops Below 39 Million

Never mind the 40 million that demographers predicted the Golden State would reach by 2018. The state's population dipped below 39 million to 38.965 million last July, according to Census data released in March, the lowest since 2015.

April 11, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

Google street view of grassy lot next to brick church with elevated freeway on other side in Houston, Texas.

Houston Supportive Housing Development Sparks Debate

Critics say a proposed apartment building would negatively impact the neighborhood’s walkability.

April 12 - Houston Chronicle

Closed black wrought iron gate in front of gated residential community with large palm trees along sides of street.

Friday Funny: Gated Community Doubles Down

The Onion skewers suburbia.

April 12 - The Onion

Aerial view of Chicago with river in foreground.

‘Cut the Tape’ Report Takes Aim at Inefficiencies

A set of recommendations from the Chicago mayor’s office calls for streamlining city processes to stimulate more residential and commercial development.

April 12 - Block Club Chicago

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.