In April, 2023, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new car pollution rules aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, which account for almost 30% of all emissions in the country. The proposed regulations would require automakers to shift towards producing more electric vehicles, with the goal of having them make up to two-thirds of all new cars sold in the US by 2032. If implemented, this policy would be one of the most aggressive climate-change policies put forth by the Biden administration.
The proposed tailpipe standards would also help cut planet-warming pollution from cars in half, and EPA Administrator Michael Regan has called them “the strongest-ever federal pollution standards for cars and trucks.” This move is part of the Biden administration’s larger goal to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions to 50% below 2005 levels by 2030 and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan appeared on “CNN News Central” on Wednesday, promoting the proposed car pollution rules as a way to reduce costs for consumers and cut planet-warming pollution. According to Regan, President Joe Biden has been advocating for strong auto emissions rules since day one, and the new regulations could result in anywhere from a 64% to 69% electric vehicle adoption rate by the early 2030s.
Setting path for auto-industry
The EPA is considering several different emissions proposals, and if approved, the standards would start with the model year 2027 vehicles. The agency believes that the new rules could also lead to EVs making up nearly half of all new medium-duty vehicles by 2032. Furthermore, officials are proposing stronger standards for heavy-duty vehicles such as dump trucks, public utility trucks, and transit and school buses. The EPA expects the proposed rules to be the strongest-ever federal pollution standards for cars and trucks.
One expert told the Biden administration’s proposal is a pivotal moment for the US auto industry and consumers. “It’s a pretty big deal,” said Thomas Boylan, a former Environmental Protection Agency official and the regulatory director for the EV trade group Zero Emission Transportation Association. “This is really going to set the tone for the rest of the decade and into the 2030s in terms of what this administration is looking for the auto industry to do when it comes to decarbonizing and ultimately electrifying.” The proposed regulations on car pollution were praised by both EPA Administrator Michael Regan and White House National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi, who called it a significant victory for the climate and a cost-saving measure for American consumers.
EVs in the US
Zaidi pointed out that the Biden administration has already tripled the number of EVs on US roads and doubled the number of public charging stations in its first few years, with plans for more in the future. The infrastructure law passed under the Biden administration includes funding for a network of EV charging stations and consumer tax credits, indicating continued support for the transition to electric vehicles. The Biden administration celebrated the proposed regulations as a big victory for climate change and consumer savings. However, a Gallup poll released on the same day revealed that Americans are still hesitant about buying electric vehicles. The poll surveyed over 1,000 US adults and showed that 41% of them would not buy an electric car. The poll also indicated that the majority of consumers haven’t fully grasped the environmental benefits of transitioning to zero-emissions vehicles, with 6 in 10 respondents saying that they believed EVs help the environment “only a little” or “not at all”. The higher price tag of EVs compared to gas-powered cars is also a deterrent for some consumers. Transportation is the biggest source of planet-warming pollution in the US, and light-duty vehicles, the average cars Americans drive, account for 58% of those emissions.