I’ve written before about why I think California is the canary in the coal mine for the success or failure of electric vehicle (EV) mandates.

Now, based on an experience I had in Phoenix last Thursday, I think there are multiple canaries.

I had rented a car from Avis on-line, to be picked up at the rental car center close to Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport. By filling out various items on line, I could go to the Avis counter, show my credit card and driver’s license, and be on to the garage to pick up my car.

That’s what I was told. But after waiting over 10 minutes in line for 2 customers to be taken care of, I approached the person behind the counter and handed her the two documents, saying, “So now I can pick up the car, right?”

“Not that simple,” she answered, “I’ve got to see if there’s a car available.” She went to a computer at the end of the counter and spent 5 to 10 minutes on it before coming back to me. She then told me that there were no cars available with internal combustion engines (ICE), even though I had explicitly reserved one. If I was willing to take an EV, she said, I could get one right away. “How long a wait if I want a gas-powered car?” I asked. “15 to 20 minutes,” she replied. I pondered. On the one hand, I wanted to visit a former student who is terminally ill and maximize my time with him before my event started in the evening. On the other hand, I didn’t want to drive an EV when I wasn’t familiar with that kind of car. I had driven a Tesla a short distance 4 or 5 years ago, but I didn’t remember if there were any special things I needed to know. I decided to get a water and use the men’s room while I waited for the ICE.

Then came the canary. “It’s too bad,” she said, “We have a lot of EVs ready but no one wants them. And soon we’re going be switching to 80% EVs.”

I wonder how that will work out.