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Friday, July 12, 2024 | Back issues
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EPA finalizes regulation to boost electric vehicle sales

The regulation gives automakers more wiggle room to comply with standards compared to an earlier proposal.

WASHINGTON (CN) — The Biden administration has finalized regulations hoping to accelerate sales of electric vehicles and cut carbon emissions while giving automakers more time and leeway to comply than initially proposed.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a final version of its regulations on emission standards for light- and medium-duty vehicles starting with model year 2027.

The regulation was first proposed last year, calling on automakers to dramatically boost electric vehicle sales to 67% of all new passenger car and light-duty truck sales by 2032. 

The final regulation gives automakers more wiggle room. They can still comply by reaching the 67% threshold, but they could also meet requirements by making all-electric vehicles account for 56% of sales and plug-in hybrids account for 13%. The revisions came after pressure from labor unions about the accelerated timeline.

“Our final rule delivers the same, if not more, pollution reduction than we set out in our proposal,’' EPA Administrator Michael Regan told reporters Tuesday.

Electric vehicles accounted for 7.6% of new vehicles sold last year, The Associated Press reported.

“The EPA final car standards are a win for the environment and public health,” New York Representative Jerry Nadler wrote online. “They will slash greenhouse gas and other harmful air pollution emissions from passenger cars and trucks.”

Despite the changes, officials said the regulation would significantly reduce particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds by 2055, providing an estimated $13 billion in annual health benefits. Regan said the standards would reduce climate pollution by 7 billion tons.

“With transportation as the largest source of U.S. climate emissions, these strongest-ever pollution standards for cars solidify America’s leadership in building a clean transportation future and creating good-paying American jobs, all while advancing President Biden’s historic climate agenda,” Regan said in a press release. 

The regulations come as sales of electric vehicles have started to slow, which the auto industry cited in its objections to the standards.

While the measure will likely face challenges in court, John Bozzella, president and CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, applauded the additional leeway for compliance.

Bozzella said automakers are committed to the electric vehicle transition, “but pace matters.”

“These adjusted EV targets — still a stretch goal — should give the market and supply chains a chance to catch up,” he said in a press release. “It buys some time for more public charging to come online, and the industrial incentives and policies of the Inflation Reduction Act to do their thing.”

But the measure was decried by several lawmakers as forcing Americans to choose what kind of car to purchase.

“The federal government has no authority and no right to mandate what type of car or truck Americans can purchase for their everyday lives,” West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin said. “This reckless and ill-informed rule will impose what is effectively an EV mandate without ensuring the security of our supply chains from nations like China and without a realistic transition plan that addresses our domestic infrastructure needs.”

Pennsylvania Representative Guy Reschenthaler called it “the most radical climate regulation in U.S. history.”

“This new tailpipe emission standard is death by regulation for gas-powered cars,” he said. “EVs are unreliable and unaffordable. That isn’t stopping Biden from forcing American consumers to buy them.”

Follow @TheNolanStout
Categories / Consumers, Environment, Politics

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