Biden to Roll Out Tougher Tailpipe Rules and Promote Electric Vehicles

Biden to Roll Out Tougher Tailpipe Rules and Promote Electric Vehicles
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Biden to Roll Out Tougher Tailpipe Rules and Promote Electric Vehicles

Biden to Roll Out Tougher Tailpipe Rules and Promote Electric Vehicles

WASHINGTON – President Biden will take action on Thursday to reduce tailpipe emissions, a leading cause of the carbon dioxide pollution that heats the planet, and will encourage U.S. automakers to increase sales of electric vehicles.

Mr. Biden will restore and slightly tighten regulation to levels that existed under President Barack Obama but were weakened under the Trump administration. In addition, he is expected to announce that his administration is developing an even stricter set of auto pollution rules for passenger vehicles and heavy trucks.

“When I say electric vehicles are the future, I’m not kidding,” Mr. Biden said written in a tweet Wednesday night. “Tune in for big news tomorrow.”

He will also sign an executive order that sets a goal that half of all vehicles sold in the United States will be electric by 2030.

As a sign of industry support, the president will be flanked by the CEOs of the country’s three largest automakers as well as the leader of the United Auto Workers. Automakers will pledge that 40-50% of their new car sales will be electric vehicles by 2030, down from just 2% this year, provided Congress passes a 1-year infrastructure bill. Trillion dollars which provides 7.5 billion dollars for a national network of charging stations for electric vehicles.

Together, the government’s actions are aimed at rapidly shifting the U.S. auto market from the polluting combustion engine to the zero-emission electric vehicle which Biden says is critical to tackling climate change.

This goal faces several challenges.

Experts say it won’t be possible for electric vehicles to move from the niche to the mainstream without making electric charging stations as ubiquitous as the corner gas station is today. And while union leaders attend the White House event, they remain concerned about a massive transition to electric vehicles, which require fewer workers to assemble.

But without a radical change in the type of vehicles Americans drive, it will be impossible for Mr. Biden to deliver on his ambitious pledge to reduce global warming emissions by 50% from 2005 levels by the end of this year. this decade. Gasoline-powered cars and trucks are the largest source of greenhouse gases produced in the United States, accounting for 28% of the country’s total carbon emissions.

“Today, the EPA takes a big step forward in implementing President Biden’s ambitious agenda to tackle the climate crisis and create well-paying union jobs,” said Michael S. Regan, the chief. from the Environmental Protection Agency, which was an author of the new rules with the Department of Transportation. “These stringent standards are underpinned by solid scientific and technical expertise, encouraging the development of technologies and innovations that will propel America towards a clean energy future.”

With the impacts of global warming seen in record droughts, deadly heat waves, floods and wildfires around the world, scientists say that simply restoring Obama-era climate controls will not will not be enough.

“Obama has started to point us in the right direction to deal with climate change,” said Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School. “Trump destroyed everything. Biden is now putting the pieces back together. But we are far behind. Much harder work is yet to come. The wholesale conversion of the transportation system and the electric power system are WWII scale undertakings, and it’s only just getting started. “

Exhaust emissions regulations enacted by the Obama administration in 2012 required passenger vehicles sold by automakers to average about 51 miles per gallon by 2025. Mr. Trump relaxed the standard in 2020 to approximately 44 miles per gallon by 2026.

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Administration officials have said the new Biden standard will be 52 miles per gallon by 2026, calling it “the strictest federal greenhouse gas standards in US history.”

The White House estimates that the regulations would reduce two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide – about a third of the total annual carbon dioxide pollution produced by the United States – and prevent the burning of about 200 billion gallons of gasoline.

The Biden administration then plans another set of stricter emissions regulations for vehicles produced beyond 2026. It is these rules that Mr. Biden hopes will essentially push automakers to phase out the internal combustion engine. . Given that this second set of rules could be technically complex and legally ambitious, administration officials first decided to quickly reinstate Obama’s regulations to reduce some emissions while federal staff members face the challenge of designing the future rule.

“Depending on how they write it, this second rule will put us on the path to widespread electric vehicle use by the end of this decade – or it won’t,” said Jeff Alson, former engineer. senior and policy advisor to the EPA who worked on Obama’s auto emissions standards.

“It will be a challenge as regulatory agencies find it difficult to force major technological change,” Alson said. “It’s quite rare. If you want to replace an internal combustion engine with a battery and replace the transmission with electric motors, this replaces the guts of gasoline cars. Forcing this kind of change will not be easy for federal agencies and politicians unless they have the support of the public and the automakers. “

In a joint statement, Ford, General Motors and Stellantis – the automaker formed this year after the Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot merger – announced their “common aspiration” to achieve 40 to 50 percent sales of electric vehicles by 2030 .

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But they need government support to translate their aspirations into action, they wrote. “This represents a radical change from today’s US market that can only be achieved with the rapid deployment of all electrification policies,” the automakers said in the statement, urging the government assistance with incentives for car buyers, a charging network, investments. in research and development and incentives to expand electric vehicle manufacturing and supply chains.

A report released last month by the International Council on Clean Transportation, a research organization, concluded that the country would need 2.4 million electric vehicle charging stations by 2030 – up from 216,000 in 2020 – so about 36% of new car sales were electric.

Some environmental groups have expressed skepticism that automakers will keep their promises.

“Today’s proposal is based on unenforceable voluntary commitments from unreliable automakers to turn up 50% of their fleets electric by 2030,” said Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Transport Campaign at the Center for Biological Diversity.

“Voluntary pledges from automakers make the New Year’s weight loss resolution look like a legally binding contract,” he said, adding: “Global warming is burning forests, roasting the West and making storms worse. . Now is not the time to come up with low standards and promise high standards later. “

Unions, meanwhile, have expressed some unease over a transition to electric vehicles, which require about two-thirds fewer workers to assemble than a gasoline car or truck.

In a statement, Ray Curry, president of the United Auto Workers said, “While the UAW notes that companies have made voluntary commitments on electric vehicles, the UAW does not focus on strict deadlines or percentages, but on the preservation of wages and social benefits. have been the heart and soul of the American middle class.

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