Biden Unveils Ambitious Regulations to Drive Electric Vehicle Adoption in US

Feature and Cover Biden Signs $1 2 Trillion Funding Bill into Law Completing Federal Agency Funding for Fiscal Year

President Joe Biden has unveiled the most stringent regulations on vehicle exhaust emissions ever seen in the United States, aiming to hasten the automotive industry’s transition to electric vehicles. The initiative sets a goal for 56% of all new vehicles sold in the US to be electric by 2032, a significant increase from current levels. While this objective represents a compromise from last year’s draft, the Biden administration asserts that it will still significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the regulation announced on Wednesday is projected to prevent 7 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the next three decades. The new regulation progressively tightens the limits on pollution allowed from vehicle exhausts on a yearly basis, with car manufacturers facing substantial fines if they fail to meet the new standards. However, companies will still retain the ability to produce gasoline-powered vehicles, provided they constitute a diminishing proportion of their overall product lineup.

In contrast to the European Union and the UK, which have committed to prohibiting the sale of petrol-powered cars from 2035 onwards, the United States is adopting a more measured approach. Last year, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak postponed the British ban by five years from its initial deadline of 2030. The American automotive industry raised concerns over the slower growth in electric vehicle (EV) sales, particularly objecting to a draft proposal from last year that would have mandated EVs to comprise 67% of all new car sales by 2032. Notably, EVs accounted for less than 8% of total new car sales last year. While the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade association representing the car industry, appreciated the slower pace of implementation, it deemed the objective still “extraordinarily ambitious.” Environmental organizations generally welcomed the regulation, although some activists expressed disappointment that it didn’t go further.

However, the new rules are anticipated to encounter legal challenges from the oil industry and states led by Republicans, possibly culminating in a Supreme Court decision. This policy underscores the delicate political balancing act President Biden must navigate. As he campaigns for re-election against Republican opponent Donald Trump, Biden aims to court car workers in Michigan, a potentially decisive swing state, while simultaneously addressing climate change, a critical issue for many Democrats. Trump has vowed to reverse environmental regulations enacted by Biden if he wins in November. Karoline Leavitt, a spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, criticized the regulations, arguing that they would compel Americans to purchase prohibitively expensive cars they neither desire nor can afford, ultimately harming the US auto industry in the process. Last year, the average sale price of an EV was approximately $53,500, around $5,000 more expensive than petrol-powered cars, whereas the average annual salary in the US stands at roughly $59,000.

Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Johnson also condemned the policy, characterizing it as “another radical, anti-energy crusade” that will restrict consumer options, escalate costs for American families, and devastate auto manufacturers.

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