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UAW calls on Biden admin to soften proposed vehicle emissions cuts

The first 2022 GMC HUMMER EV Pickup Edition 1 exits Factory ZERO in Detroit and Hamtramck, Michigan. VIN 001 was auctioned in March 2021 at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction for $2.5 million to benefit the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union has urged the Biden administration to reconsider its proposed vehicle emissions cuts, which would require 67% of new cars to be electric by 2032. 

The UAW represents workers at General Motors, Ford Motor, and Stellantis. As per the union, the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards should be adjusted to “better reflect the feasibility of compliance so that the projected adoption of (zero emission vehicles) is set to feasible levels, increases stringency more gradually, and occurs over a greater period of time.”

The comments were made ahead of the UAW’s upcoming contract negotiations with the Detroit Three automakers before the current four-year contracts expire in September, as noted in a Reuters report. 

The UAW highlighted the importance of recognizing the existing dominance of profitable light-duty trucks and SUVs in the domestic auto assembly footprint. The union expressed concerns that premature implementation of the EPA’s proposed standards could disrupt the market and hinder the successful adoption of EVs.

“EPA must recognize that the current domestic auto assembly footprint is heavily weighted towards the profitable light-duty truck and SUVs that are tasked with funding the EV transition. 

“We fear the proposed standards are premature and risk disrupting the market that will make the EV transition possible. We urge EPA to continue to work with all key stakeholders to ensure the new rules do not disproportionately impact domestic union auto production,” the UAW noted. 

The union also dubbed the EPA proposal “neither reasonable nor achievable.” Such descriptions are quite similar to those used by Toyota, who called the EPA’s proposed emissions requirements “extreme and outside historical norms.” Interestingly enough, Tesla has adopted the opposite stance on the matter, with the company telling the EPA that its proposal does not go far enough.

This was not the first time that the UAW criticized the electric vehicle transition. Last month, UAW President Shawn Fain criticized the US Energy Department’s plan to provide a $9.2 billion loan for a joint venture between Ford and South Korea’s SK On to establish three battery plants in the country. The UAW also noted in May that it had not yet endorsed US President Biden for reelection, citing concerns about his administration’s electric vehicle policies.

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UAW calls on Biden admin to soften proposed vehicle emissions cuts
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