The administration of President Joe Biden on Wednesday proposed historically stricter greenhouse gas emission standards for cars and trucks sold in the United States, which according to the administration could result in electric vehicle sales making up as much as 67% of all new vehicle sales in less than ten years.
Given that new sales of electric vehicles accounted for only around 6% of total new vehicle sales in the United States last year, despite being a significant increase, if that were to occur, it would represent a tremendous shift in the country’s auto industry. According to surveys, many buyers are not convinced to make the conversion due to concerns about the range and initial cost of electric vehicles, which are significantly more prevalent than in many gasoline-powered versions.
However, according to Biden administration officials, if automakers embrace electric vehicles as the primary path into the future—as many already have, with General Motors, for instance, aspiring to be “all-electric” by 2035—those cars and trucks could account for 67% of new light-duty vehicle sales and 46% of new medium-duty vehicle sales in model year 2032, respectively, under the newly proposed standards.
They added that efforts to combat climate change on a global scale as well as Biden’s own initiatives, such as those to encourage consumers to purchase electric vehicles and boost domestic battery production as well as the installation of hundreds of thousands of charging stations, are driving this change. States, led by California, want all new vehicles to emit zero greenhouse gases by 2035.
Margo Oge, the former director of the EPA’s Division of Transportation and Air Quality, described the possibility of electric car sales reaching 60% of the market by the 2030s as “not straightforward, it’s not easy.” But can it be done? Indeed it is.
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Michael Regan revealed the new regulations, which would go into force in 2027, while stating that the federal government does not require automakers to embrace electric vehicles but that it is one of the preferred routes. Regan stated of the historically high criteria, “I believe we can (reach that level of electric car sales), and I believe so because we’re following the market trends.” With significant investments and additional incentives in place.
He declared, “This is the future.
The Detroit automakers were largely reticent, although they did promise to look into the ideas and cooperate with the government. Although General Motors is working towards a “all-electric future,” more investment in production and charging infrastructure is required, according to Matt Ybarra, senior manager of public policy communications at GM. As this was going on, Ford said that it will “continue to work with the EPA and other stakeholders to develop rules that are good for our customers and communities, the car industry, and the environment.”
While dedicated to lowering vehicle emissions, Stellantis, the firm that owns Jeep, Ram, Chrysler, Dodge, and Fiat, stated in a statement through spokesman Eric Mayne that it was “surprised that none of the alternatives correspond with the president’s previously announced aim of 50% EVs by 2030.” Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, has previously advised governments to take a more flexible approach rather than requiring the use of electric vehicles, pointing to the high initial cost of such vehicles.
Even with the expenditures the firms have made, according to John Bozzella, head of the Alliance for Auto Innovation, which is made up of the majority of major automakers, the projected strategy “is ambitious by any standard.”
Biden himself set the goal of 50% of all new car sales in the country being zero-emission vehicles less than two years ago. Although it acknowledges that “tens of millions” of gasoline-powered vehicles would continue to be in use long into the 2030s, the new idea suggests that the transition could happen even more quickly.
Regan and Ali Zaidi, the White House’s national climate advisor, discussed the proposal’s general ideas with reporters on Tuesday. The plan aims to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation sources significantly.
For instance, by 2032, the amended fleetwide target for light-duty automobiles and trucks would be decreased by 56%, from 186 grammes of carbon dioxide released per mile in model year 2026 to 82 grammes per mile fleetwide. Compared to model year 2026 criteria, the new standards suggested for medium-duty vehicles like school buses and box trucks would be 44% lower. The regulations aim to reduce heavy-duty truck emissions as well.