Mobility Portal, Spain
Date: March 21, 2024
Mobility Portal Favicon
By Mobility Portal
United States

The US relaxes regulations on exhaust pipes, slowing down the transition to electromobility until 2030

The Biden administration slashed its target for US EV adoption from 67% by 2032 to as little as 35% after industry and autoworker backlash in the political battleground state of Michigan.
US regulations on exhaust pipes, slowing down the transition to electromobility

The Biden administration on Wednesday slashed its target for United States (US) electric vehicle (EV) adoption from 67 percent by 2032 to as little as 35 percent after industry and autoworker backlash in the political battleground state of Michigan.

The Environmental Protection Agency instead adopted a “technology neutral” regulatory scheme that allows automakers far more freedom to meet emissions standards with gas-electric hybrids, which many environmentalists have opposed as a half-measure that delays the EV transition.

The agency also embraced “advanced gasoline” technologies to save fuel, such as turbo-charging, lighter vehicles or stop-start ignition systems.

Michael Regan, EPA administrator, said the new rules would nonetheless achieve the same greenhouse-gas reductions as the original EPA proposal for a far more aggressive EV transition.

“We designed the standards to be technology neutral and performance-based to give manufacturers the flexibility to choose which combination of pollution control technologies are best suited for their consumers,” he stated.

Regan emphasized there is “absolutely no mandate” to adopt EVs.

The EPA acknowledged the rule cuts emissions by 49 percent by 2032 over 2026 levels compared with 56 percent under the proposal last year.

Regan said the reductions were “essentially the same” between the proposal and final rule.

The EPA’s revised proposal reflects the political squeeze Biden faces in his re-election campaign. For both Biden and his Republican rival, Donald Trump, the road to the White House goes through Michigan and other industrial states such as Wisconsin and Pennsylvania where workers fear that the EV transition threatens jobs.

Trump has repeatedly excoriated electric vehicles.

The emissions rules likely mark the last major environmental policy move Biden will make before he faces the voters in November.

Big Pollution Reductions

The new rules, while softened, will nonetheless force dramatic emissions reductions.

The EPA said the plan cuts fleetwide tailpipe emissions by 50 percent over 2026 levels and reduces greenhouse-gas emissions by 7.2 billion tons through 2055.

The EPA’s percentage targets for EV adoption are not mandates but forecasts of how automakers will change their fleets to meet regulations.

Its projection on Wednesday came as a wide range — between 35 percent and 56 percent of all sales between 2030 and 2032 — rather than a specific target, reflecting the flexibility it emphasized for automakers to pursue different pollution-cutting technologies.

The new regulations will be easier, but hardly easy, for automakers to meet given the relatively low levels of US electric and hybrid adoption now.

EVs last year accounted for less than eight per cent of vehicle sales.

Hybrids, including plug-ins, accounted for about nine percent of sales, according to Cox Automotive data.

Hybrid sales, however, have surged in recent months as EV demand slowed, suggesting the new regulations could set off a hybrid boom.

Environmentalists and electric-vehicle makers such as Tesla have often blasted hybrids as a side-road on the way to an urgently needed transition to fully electric vehicles.

Tesla executive Martin Viecha repeated that mantra on Wednesday, posting on the X social media platform: “Unfortunately, people use plug-in hybrids mainly as gas cars, which means their CO2 emissions are far worse” than the EPA suggests.

And yet Tesla policy executive Rohan Patel acknowledged the practicality of the new standards in another post, calling them “less ambitious and therefore even more achievable.”

Some climate activists had a harsher take.

“This rule could’ve been the biggest single step of any nation on climate, but the EPA caved to pressure from Big Auto, Big Oil and car dealers and riddled the plan with loopholes big enough to drive a Ford F150 through,” stated Dan Becker, director of the  Center for Biological Diversity.

Separator Single Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *