If the goal of the Green New Deal proposed by Democrats in Congress is to get people talking about a transition to renewable energy, then it looks to be gaining traction.

The Senate generated controversy on both sides of the aisle by proposing to hold a token vote on the proposal. Studies have arrived on both sides and in the middle of the political spectrum assessing the feasibility of generating all the electricity in the U.S. from renewable energy. The tough questions for everyone surround how keep such an electrical grid affordable and reliable. 

It's not yet clear how much of a real effect the Green New Deal may have beyond discussions.

Mulan wind farm [CREDIT: Global Climate Budget 2018]

Mulan wind farm [CREDIT: Global Climate Budget 2018]


Last week, we thought we'd ask our readers what they think. Our Twitter poll last week asked: "What effect to you expect the Green New Deal to have for electric cars?"

From the greatest to the least effect, our suggestions included: A national electric vehicle mandate, which could be similar to the one that California enforces, and is followed by 9, going on 10 other states; a moderate increase in electric-car sales; cleaner electric power for EVs to run on; and no effect at all.

Our readers proved relatively optimistic when it came to the Democratic proposal, with a full third saying they think an EV mandate such as California's could go national. To do that, however, would require a different president after 2020. Under President Trump, the EPA has proposed revoking even California's ability to set such a mandate, and has said GM's long-term plan to convert to selling all electric vehicles is "not going to work."

A quarter of our respondents said they think the Green New Deal will bring cleaner electric power, which likely means more renewables (although it could also include more nuclear power.) This too would require a different administration, as the current EPA leadership has rolled back emissions rules on powerplants twice to benefit those running on coal, and promoted coal at a global climate conference in Poland in December.

Coal power plant in China

Coal power plant in China


The fewest respondents, 16 percent, said they expect the Green New Deal only to result in moderately more electric-car sales. That could be because more automakers are developing and selling electric cars even without the deal, in response partly to mandates in Europe and China, as well as California.

Finally, a few more respondents than those who expected it to bring cleaner power said they expect the deal to have no effect, a significantly higher number than those who expect it to bring moderately more electric-car sales. 

We'll keep an eye on what effects the Green New Deal actually has, since our Twitter polls are unscientific and generally have too small and skewed a sample to be nationally representative.