Biden EPA’s New Vehicle Emissions Standards Spark Backlash From Auto Industry, Republicans

Nathan Worcester
By Nathan Worcester
April 13, 2023Politics
Biden EPA’s New Vehicle Emissions Standards Spark Backlash From Auto Industry, Republicans
An employee works on an assembly line at startup Rivian Automotive's electric vehicle factory in Normal, Ill., on April 11, 2022. (Kamil Krzaczynski/Reuters)

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed emissions standards for automobiles and trucks are raising eyebrows in the auto industry and Washington alike.

“EPA’s proposed emissions plan is aggressive by any measure. By that I mean it sets automotive electrification goals in the next few years that are … very high,” John Bozzella, president and CEO of the automaker trade organization Alliance for Automotive Innovation, wrote in an April 12 blog post.

The federal standards would tightly restrict emissions from new vehicles. That will effectively force automakers to boost their sales of electric vehicles (EVs).

NTD Photo
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan testifies before the Senate Appropriations Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, in Washington, on April 20, 2021. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The agency’s proposal anticipates that under the new standards, two-thirds of new light-duty vehicles sold in the United States would be electric by the model year 2032.

It similarly predicts that 46 percent of new medium-duty vehicles sold in the United States would be electric by that model year.

EVs made up less than 6 percent of total new vehicle sales in 2022. That’s an increased percentage relative to past years even as total new vehicle sales were down to 13.8 million units from 17.3 million in 2018.

The EPA claims its standards would lower carbon dioxide emissions by 10 billion tons.

Agency administrator Michael Regan described the standards as the “strongest ever” during an April 12 press conference.

“The proposal exceeds the administration’s own 50 percent electrification target,” Bozzella wrote, adding that his industry is “fully committed to an electric and low-carbon transportation future.”

Not Enough Chargers

Less than two weeks ago, the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department issued complex guidance on EV tax credits that could make it harder for consumers to benefit from those financial incentives.

Bozzella, who began his career working for Democrat New York Mayor David Dinkins, said the guidance would reduce the number of vehicles qualifying for tax credits. That would seem to disincentivize EV adoption even as the administration steps up other measures intended to facilitate more EV purchases.

Bozzella added the 100,000 public, non-proprietary EV chargers in the United States are “not enough.”

An April 6 memo from the automotive alliance argued that electrification would take a “massive, 100-year change to the U.S. industrial base and the way Americans drive.”

Beyond the auto industry, other groups also voiced concerns.

Will Hild, executive director of Consumers’ Research, a consumer protection organization, said that the standards are “the same thing BlackRock and ESG extremists like Larry Fink are doing with U.S. pensions and retirement dollars.”

“The American people won’t stand for it,” he added.

Republicans Object

Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill responded critically to the announcement, which comes days after new EPA coal plant standards and Biden vetoes aimed at furthering the president’s environmental agenda.

“The Environmental Protection Agency will make cars unaffordable by following California’s lead towards a complete ban on gas-powered vehicles,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

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U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) speaks at a House Republican news conference on energy policy at the U.S. Capitol on March 08, 2022, in Washington. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

California’s 2022 plan would outlaw gas-powered vehicle sales in the state by 2035.

“His [Biden’s] misguided policies are hurting American families while helping China,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

“The ‘electrification of everything’ is not a solution. It’s a road to higher prices and fewer choices.”

Sen Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, highlighted some potentially significant issues for the United States as the domestic EV fleet expands.

“These misguided emissions standards were made without considering the supply chain challenges American automakers are still facing, the lack of sufficiently operational electric vehicle charging infrastructure, or the fact that it takes nearly a decade to permit a mine to extract the minerals needed to make electric vehicles, forcing businesses to look to China for these raw materials,” Capito said.

“EVs should be part of the equation, not the entire solution,” said Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), who chairs the House Committee on Natural Resources, in a statement to The Epoch Times.

NTD Photo
The White House in Washington on March 22, 2023. (Richard Moore/The Epoch Times)

He suggested that Americans would be better served by H.R. 1, an energy bill championed by Republicans that passed the House in March.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said the bill will be “dead on arrival” in the upper chamber, while the White House on March 27 said Biden would veto it “in its current form.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Tesla, and Ford did not respond to requests for comment by press time. Toyota directed The Epoch Times to Bozzella’s April 12 blog post.

SAE International, an engineering professional association with close ties to the automotive sector, had no comment.

From The Epoch Times

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