WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday proposed sweeping emissions cuts for new cars and trucks through 2032, a move it says could mean two out of three new cars sold by automakers will be electric within a decade.
The proposal, if finalized, would represent the most aggressive U.S. vehicle emissions reduction plan yet, requiring an annual pollution reduction of 13% and a 56% reduction in projected average fleet emissions over 2026 requirements. The EPA also proposes more new emissions standards. Strict for medium and heavy duty trucks through 2032.
The Environmental Protection Agency projects that the 2027-2032 rules will cut more than 9 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions through 2055 — more than double the total US carbon dioxide emissions last year.
Automakers and environmental advocates say the administration is moving quickly to finalize the new rules by early 2024 to make it more difficult for Congress or a future president to reverse them. Then President Donald Trump rolled back the tough emissions restrictions through 2025 that were put in place under Barack Obama, but the Biden administration reversed that rollback.
The agency estimates net benefits through 2055 from the proposal to range from $850 billion to $1.6 trillion. By 2032, the proposal would cost about $1,200 per vehicle per manufacturer, but it would save the owner more than $9,000 on average on fuel, maintenance and repair costs over eight years.
“Factors outside the vehicle, such as charging infrastructure, supply chains and network flexibility, and fuel availability are low,” said John Bozzella, CEO of the Automotive Innovation Alliance representing General Motors (GM.N), Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), Toyota (7203.T) and others. Carbon and Critical Minerals will determine whether EPA standards at these levels are achievable.”
The proposal is more ambitious than President Joe Biden’s 2021 goal, backed by automakers, to seek 50% of new cars by 2030 to be electric vehicles (EVs) or plug-in hybrids.
The Biden administration isn’t proposing banning gasoline-powered cars, but it does want feedback on whether it should extend emissions rules through 2035 and on other alternatives. Some environmental groups want the Environmental Protection Agency to set stricter rules, especially on heavy trucks.
The United Auto Workers union, which previously warned of job losses from switching to electric vehicles, said it would review the EPA’s proposal.
The UAW said, “There is little reason why electric vehicle manufacturing cannot be the gateway to the middle class where auto jobs have been for generations of unionized auto workers. But the early signs of this industry are troubling.” “Forcing workers to choose between good jobs and green jobs is the wrong choice.”
EPA Administrator Michael Reagan has refused to agree to set a date for ending sales of new gasoline-powered cars. He stressed that the proposal is a “performance-based standard” rather than an electrical mandate.
“We’re not taking any particular technology out of business – so to speak,” he said.
Under the EPA’s proposal, automakers are expected to produce 60% of electric vehicles by 2030 and 67% by 2032 to meet requirements — compared to just 5.8% of US cars sold in 2022 that were electric vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to propose parallel economic standards in the coming weeks.
California moved in August to require all new cars sold in the state by 2035 to be plug-in hybrid or electric, but still must obtain a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) moving forward. Reagan wouldn’t say how the EPA will react to California’s request. “We will be on the lookout for that if one day it happens,” he said.
Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito said the proposal was “misleading” and said, “The Biden administration has made it clear that it wants Americans to decide what kinds of cars and trucks we are allowed to buy, rent and drive.”
Dan Baker, director of the Campaign for Safe Climate Transport, said the EPA’s proposal should have been tougher.
“Automakers speak from both sides of their tailpipes, promising electric cars while often offering up the same old gas-guzzling squalor and pressure for weak, loopy bases,” Becker said.
Under the proposal, the EPA estimates that 50% of new occupational vehicles such as buses and garbage trucks could be electric vehicles by 2032, along with 35% of new short-haul freight tractors and 25% of new long-haul freight tractors. The medium-duty vehicle rules are expected to reduce emissions by 44% through 2026.
David Shepardson News. Editing by Kenneth Maxwell, Kirsten Donovan, and Nick Zieminski
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