Biden wants automakers to increase gas mileage and reduce tailpipe pollution by the 2026 model year. climate change as it pushes a historic shift in the United States from internal combustion engines to battery-powered vehicles. He also called for the components needed to make this radical change -om batteries to semiconductors – be made in the United States, reflecting a balance to win industry and union support for the environmental effort, with the future promise of new jobs and billions of dollars in new federal investments in electric vehicles.
Pointing to the electric vehicles parked on the south lawn of the White House, the president told them a “vision of the future which is now starting to materialize.”
“The question is whether we are leading or falling behind in the race for the future,” he said. “Guys, the rest of the world is moving forward. We have to catch up. “
In obvious good spirits, the President hopped into an electric-powered Jeep Rubicon and made a quick turn down the aisle after the ceremony.
New mileage, anti-pollution standards
Earlier Thursday, the administration announced that there would be new mileage and anti-pollution standards from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation, as part of Biden’s goal of reducing by half the US greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. He said the auto industry had agreed to a target that 40 to 50% of new vehicle sales be electric by 2030.
Regulatory standards and the voluntary goal of automakers were included in an executive order that Biden signed to applause from the gathering of auto industry executives and lawmakers.
The standards, which must go through the regulatory process, including public comment, would reverse fuel economy and pollution control cuts made under former President Donald Trump. At that time, the increases were reduced to 1.5% per year until model year 2026.
Still, it remained to be seen how quickly consumers would be ready to switch to higher mileage, lower emissions vehicles over less fuel efficient SUVs, currently the best selling in the industry. The EV 2030 goals are ultimately non-binding, and the industry has stressed that billions of dollars in EV investments in legislation pending in Congress will be critical to meeting those goals.
Only 2.2% of new vehicle sales were fully electric vehicles through June, according to estimates from Edmunds.com. This is up from 1.4 percent in the same period last year.
Biden has long called himself a “car guy,” his blue-collar politician intermingled with support for unionized workers and his role as vice president in stabilizing the auto industry after the 2008 economic collapse. He also joked with Mary Barra, the CEO. from General Motors, that he wanted to book a test drive.
“I have a commitment from Mary: When they make the first electric Corvette, I can drive it,” Biden said. “No, Mary? You think I’m kidding. I am not joking. “
Trump Era Rollback Review
The new standards would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase fuel economy by 10% over Trump rules for car model year 2023, followed by a 5% increase in reductions for each model year until 2026, according to a statement from the EPA. This is an increase of about 25%. 100 over four years.
“These robust 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,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in the communicated.
Last week, the Associated Press and other news outlets reported that the Biden administration was discussing lower mileage requirements with automakers, but they have apparently been tightened.
The change came after environmental groups publicly complained that they were too weak to tackle a serious problem.
Transportation is the main US contributor to climate change. In the United States, automobiles released 748 million metric tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in 2019, or about 14% of total U.S. emissions, according to the EPA.
The voluntary agreement with automakers defines electric vehicles as plug-in hybrids, fully electric vehicles and those powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
Faster action is needed, some say
Environmental groups praised the move but also said the administration should act faster.
“This proposal helps us get back on the path to cleaning up pollution from tailpipes,” said Simon Mui of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “But given that climate change has already made our weather so harsh, it is clear that we need to accelerate progress dramatically. “
Scientists claim that man-made global warming is raising temperatures, raising sea levels and worsening forest fires, droughts, floods and storms around the world.
Several automakers have already announced sales targets for electric vehicles similar to those in the agreement with the government.
Last week, for example, the CEO of Ford said his company expects 40% of its global sales to be fully electric by 2030. General Motors has said it aspires to sell only vehicles from electric tourism by 2035. Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler, has also committed to 40% electrified vehicles by 2030.
General Motors, Stellantis and Ford said in a joint statement that their recent commitments to electric vehicles show that they want to lead the United States in the transition from combustion vehicles.
They said the change is a “dramatic shift” from the current US market and can only happen with policies that include incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles, adequate government funding for charging stations and money to expand electric vehicle manufacturing and parts supply chain.
Toyota also released a statement on EPA standards and the 50% target, with Ted Ogawa, the company’s North American CEO, saying, “You can count on Toyota to do our part. “
The United Auto Workers (UAW), which has raised concerns about being too hasty with a transition from electric vehicles due to the potential impact on jobs in the sector, has not committed to approve a target of 40 to 50 percent electric vehicles.
But the UAW said it supported the president to “support his ambition not only to develop electric vehicles, but also our ability to produce them in the country with good wages and benefits.”