Biden considers delaying auto regulation transition to electric vehicles



The Environmental Protection Agency will ease one of the most important climate change regulations, car and truck emissions standards, by giving automakers more time to promote electric vehicles, according to two people familiar with the matter. He is said to be considering it.

Rather than mandating a rapid increase in electric vehicle (EV) sales in the coming years, authorities may postpone those requirements until 2030 or beyond, two of the people said. The individuals spoke on condition of anonymity because no final decision had been made. The rules won’t be finalized until March at the earliest.

The move comes as the Biden administration faces pressure to weaken its electrification goals on a number of fronts, citing slowing EV sales and problems with public EV charging stations.

The New York Times first reported that the EPA was considering such a change, which would be a major concession to automakers and unions in an election year. This comes as President Biden walks the political tightrope of balancing two high-profile priorities: combating climate change and defending workers’ rights.

During last fall’s controversial strike, the United Auto Workers union sounded the alarm that a rapid transition to EVs could come at the cost of good-paying jobs. Unions have been wary of EVs because they typically require fewer workers to assemble than gasoline-powered vehicles and because many EV factories are built in southern states that are less union-friendly. This is because it has been

In April, the EPA announced a proposed rule that would require 67% of all new passenger car and light truck sales to be electric vehicles by 2032. Weeks later, UAW President Sean Fein said in a letter that the union would withhold support for Biden’s re-election bid. A campaign around “concerns about the transition to electric vehicles”.

EPA sent the final rule to the White House for interagency review in January. Shortly after, the UAW endorsed Biden at the annual legislative session in Washington.

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump later called Fein a “drug” on his social media site Truth Social. President Trump has also falsely claimed that EVs cannot travel far on a single charge and called for repealing the EV tax credit in Biden’s signature climate bill.

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UAW spokesman Jonah Furman declined to comment for this article. EPA spokesman Timothy Carroll declined to comment on the specifics of the rule because it is under review between agencies. But Carroll generally said in an email that “EPA is committed to perfecting technology standards that are easily achievable, ensure that dangerous air and climate pollution are reduced, and provide economic benefits to families.” “I am doing so,” he said.

Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Transportation Campaign at the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental organization, urged the EPA not to delay the transition timeline for EVs. He pointed out that gasoline- and diesel-powered cars and trucks are among the nation’s largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

“That means more pollution, more sick children, more global warming, more oil usage,” Becker said in a phone interview Sunday.

But one person briefed on the matter said delaying EV requirements would still achieve about the same amount of emissions reductions by 2055 as originally proposed.

U.S. EV sales continue to rise, but automakers say growth has slowed in recent months and they are pausing some investments. Tesla, whose employees are not unionized, dominates EV sales in the United States. Detroit’s unionized automakers are far behind, with EVs accounting for just 4% of Ford’s total sales and 3% of General Motors’ total sales.

The availability of functioning charging stations is an issue for both automakers and many consumers. Many EV drivers charge their vehicles at home, but EV advocates complain of a lack of functioning public charging stations nationwide. Even in California, a hotbed of EV adoption, only 72.5% of all public fast chargers in the San Francisco Bay Area were operational as of early 2022, according to a study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

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The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, an industry group, argued that the EPA regulations are too ambitious given the slowdown in EV sales. The coalition, which represents GM, Toyota, Volkswagen, Hyundai and others, said the rule could result in automakers being fined more than $14 billion if they fail to meet carbon reduction targets. .

John Bozella, president and CEO of the alliance, said in a statement that countries need to move at their own pace in the transition to electric vehicles. He mentioned Biden’s centerpiece climate legislation, the Inflation Control Act, which would fund EV development.

He said: “It gives markets and supply chains an opportunity to catch up, preserves customer choice, allows more utility bills to come online, and has a role for industrial credit and anti-inflation laws to influence industry shifts. We should,” he said.

Tesla, by contrast, asked regulators to strengthen the proposed rules. In public comments, Tesla called for rules that would increase EV market share to 69% by 2032 and 100% by 2035.

EPA works with the Department of Transportation and California officials to set tailpipe emission limits. Under the Clean Air Act, California has the authority to issue stronger pollution regulations than the federal government. The California Air Resources Board aims to ban the sale of new cars that run solely on gasoline by 2035. In the past, more than a dozen other states have chosen to follow the Golden State’s stricter standards.

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