Biden Administration pulls back rule that revises EV mileage ratings

(Photo: Tesla)

The Biden Administration is pulling back on a proposed rule that would require automakers to build fewer combustion engine vehicles or face hefty fines.

On Tuesday, the Department of Energy decided to slow down the phase-out of existing rules that give car companies extra fuel-economy credits for the EVs they sell. The goal was to help U.S. car companies meet federal fuel efficiency standards while maintaining the ability to sell gas-powered pickups and SUVs that are big money makers.

The Biden White House decided to pull back the rules after meeting with automakers who said they could not meet the aggressive goals for a widespread EV transition.

The previous rules aimed to have 67 percent, or roughly two-thirds, of all new cars be electric by 2032. The new rules now allow for 30 to 56 percent of all new car sales to be EVs.

Last year, the U.S. EV market share was under 8 percent.

Tesla wants the U.S. to enact stricter fuel efficiency standards

The backpedaling comes as President Biden is attempting to bolster his re-election campaign. Reuters, in its report, points out that the move could be an attempt to sway some votes in his direction as the battleground state of Michigan, where General Motors and Ford, two legacy automakers, are based.

The Biden Administration’s concession comes as Donald Trump has stated that the heavy EV policies could cost millions of jobs and help Chinese EV makers dominate the growing U.S. EV sector.

The now-pulled-back proposal would have lowered “petroleum-equivalent fuel economy” ratings for EVs by 72 percent in 2027. By 2030, they would have been reduced by a total of 65 percent, giving companies more time to adjust to the strict standards.

Companies supported the announcement after they disclosed to the White House that meeting these standards would become increasingly difficult.

The Reuters report also states that GM would have faced $6.5 billion in fines, Stellantis would have been stuck with a $3 billion penalty, and Ford would have had $1 billion in fines.

The EPA also announced on Wednesday that it would implement revised standards for vehicle emissions from 2027 to 2032.

These new rules will require emissions reductions in every new car sold starting in 2027. To meet the new standards, automakers will be able to utilize cleaner technologies for gas-powered cars and add more zero-emissions EVs to their lineups.

The final rule would help the industry meet the limits of 56 percent of new vehicle sales being all-electric by 2032. It would also see at least 13 percent of new car sales be hybrid vehicles.

“Let me be clear: Our final rule delivers the same, if not more, pollution reduction than we set out in our proposal,” the EPA’s Michael Regan said, according to NBC.

“Today’s announcement will shift the trajectory of the automobile market and put us on a path to real emissions reductions, with an estimated 7.2 billion tons of global warming pollution avoided by 2055,” Steven Higashide, Director of the Clean Transportation Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said. “These rules are the strongest standards ever finalized and vital for meeting U.S. climate goals. This rule is technology-neutral and won’t mandate electric vehicles, but it will encourage this growing market. New cars sold in the coming years will be on the road for a decade or more, so it’s vital that these rules cut emissions from gasoline cars as well as encourage zero-emission electric cars.”

The new regulations are more aligned with the automotive industry’s beliefs. Dealers and the UAW saw previous plans from the EPA as unrealistic.

However, climate groups believe these standards will help eliminate emissions.

“These standards will help clean up emissions from transportation—the biggest source of global warming pollution in the U.S. To achieve their full potential, these rules must be accompanied by other investments in a cleaner, more accessible transportation system,” Higashide added.

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Biden Administration pulls back rule that revises EV mileage ratings
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