President Joe Biden’s electric-vehicular-rollout plan faces opposition from the auto industry’s largest lobbying group.
- One of President Biden’s initiatives is a proposed regulation requiring 67% of all new passenger vehicles in the U.S. to be electric by 2032.
- If successful, the law would be one of the strongest regulations enacted to address climate change, and it has the potential to reduce carbon emissions by around 7 billion tons, The New York Times reports.
- The Alliance For Automotive Innovation, representing 42 auto companies that produce nearly all vehicles sold in the U.S., came out strongly against the proposed rule on Wednesday.
- The Alliance wrote in a public comment to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the regulations are “neither reasonable nor achievable in the time frame covered in this proposal.”
Why it’s news
While government regulators have pushed for more environmentally friendly initiatives like promoting electric vehicles (EVs), automakers have warned that they are not yet ready for the transition.
The Alliance includes members like Ford, Toyota, General Motors, Stellantis, and Volkswagen. Referencing the regulations in a letter representing these companies, the Alliance wrote that the group “does not believe they can be met without substantially increasing the cost of vehicles, reducing consumer choice, and disadvantaging major portions of the United States population and territory.”
Accelerating a transition to EVs is one of the Biden administration’s top environmental priorities. According to an International Energy Agency report, global sales of gas-powered vehicles would have to stop by 2035 to prevent temperatures from increasing 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels.
Despite this push for EVs, these models only made up 5.8% of all new vehicles sold in the U.S., The New York Times reports. Last year, as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, President Biden made a provision for up to $7,500 in tax credits for EV purchasers. However, many popular EV models do not qualify for these benefits.
New regulations on automakers could force a swifter adoption of EVs, but if the lobbying group can weaken the rule, the Biden administration may not be able to accomplish its goals. The auto industry’s perspective will likely have a strong influence on the outcome of the regulation, especially as President Biden begins his reelection campaign in auto-focused states like Michigan and Ohio.
Backing up a bit
Automakers and lawmakers have struggled back and forth over climate regulations on vehicles for over a decade. Former President Barack Obama started much of the modern-day debate with his order to increase fuel-economy standards. This regulation was an early push toward EV transition. Some of the largest car manufacturers in the U.S. backed this proposal, but recent government bailouts influenced them, The New York Times reports.
During the Trump administration, many of these regulations were rolled back. The Biden administration has been working to reinstate Obama-era rules. In 2021, President Biden promised to work on policies that would result in EVs making up half of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2030.
Regulators will consider public comments before making finalizations to President Biden’s proposal. The public letter from the Alliance will be taken into account. In previous regulatory battles like this one, regulators have reduced standards to accommodate concerns from industry leaders, The New York Times reports.
The administration says the groups it represents do not oppose the entire regulatory policy but asks that the Biden administration gives them more time. In its letter, it suggested that the target be lowered to 40% or 50% of electric vehicle sales by 2030. The current regulations push manufacturers to achieve 67% by 2032.
Group president John Bozzella has suggested expanding the regulation to include hybrids rather than just all-electric vehicles. This would be a much more achievable goal for many manufacturers.