WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is proposing the nation’s most ambitious climate regulations on Wednesday, two plans designed to ensure that two-thirds of new passenger cars and a quarter of new heavy-duty trucks sold in the U.S. are all electric by 2032.
If the two rules are enacted as proposed, scientists say they would put the world’s largest economy on track to reduce its planet-warming emissions, which all countries need to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change.
The new rules will require nothing less than a revolution in the American automobile industry. Last year, all-electric vehicles accounted for just 5.8 percent of new car sales in the U.S. and less than 2 percent of new heavy-duty trucks.
By proposing more ambitious emissions standards for cars and trucks, we are fulfilling the Biden-Harris administration’s promise to protect people and the planet, secure critical reductions in dangerous air and climate pollution, and ensure significant economic benefits like less fuel and maintenance. Costs to families,” said Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael S. Reagan said in a statement.
The EPA cannot mandate that carmakers sell a certain number of electric vehicles. But under the Clean Air Act, a company can limit pollution by the total number of cars each manufacturer sells. And the company can set that limit so tightly that the only way manufacturers can comply is to sell a certain percentage of zero-emission vehicles.
The proposed tailpipe emissions limits for cars, first reported by The New York Times on Saturday, are designed to ensure that 67 percent of new light passenger vehicles, from sedans to pickup trucks sold, will be fully electric by 2032. , 46 percent of sales of new medium-duty trucks, such as delivery vans, will be electric or some other zero-emissions technology throughout the same year, according to the plan.
The EPA also proposed a rule governing heavy-duty vehicles designed to be fully electric by 2032, with half of new buses and 25 percent of new heavy-duty trucks.
Together, the two rules would eliminate the equivalent of two years’ worth of carbon dioxide emissions generated by all sectors of the economy in the United States, the world’s second-biggest polluter after China.
But some auto workers and manufacturers fear that the transition to all-electric vehicles envisioned by the Biden administration will go too fast, too fast, and result in job losses and lower profits.
Major automakers have often invested heavily in electrification. Nevertheless, many fear customer demand for expensive all-electric models; supply of batteries; and the speed with which a national network of charging stations can be built.
The rise of electric vehicles
Because electric vehicles require half as many workers to assemble as cars with internal combustion engines, auto workers fear job losses.
Automakers and labor unions have been voicing those fears directly to the president since 2021, when Mr. Biden announced.
As word began to spread last week that his new regulations were designed to go even further, some automakers pushed back.
John Bocella, president of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which represents major U.S. and foreign automakers, questioned how the EPA could justify “defying a carefully considered and data-driven target announced by the Administration.”
“Yes, America’s transition to electric and low-carbon transportation is well underway,” said Mr. Bozzella said in a statement. “EV and battery production is increasing across the country as automakers have self-funded billions to expand vehicle electrification. It’s also true that the EPA’s proposed emissions plan is radical by any measure.
“Remember this: A lot has to go right for this massive – and unprecedented – change in our automotive market and industry platform,” said Mr. Bocella said.
EPA’s engineers and scientists have spent the past year working to determine how much electric vehicle technology can advance over the next decade to set strong, achievable tailpipe emissions limits.
Tensions have flared between the auto industry and the Biden administration over the past week, according to three people familiar with the incident.
Mr. Officials had originally planned for Reagan to make the announcement.
But as auto executives and the United Auto Workers learned the details of the proposed regulations, some were hesitant to publicly support them, according to people familiar with their thinking. The organization moved from Detroit to EPA headquarters in Washington, where Mr. Reagan is scheduled to make remarks at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
In an interview, Mr. Reagan acknowledged that some auto executives and leaders of the United Auto Workers had expressed concern about the proposals — saying they could be amended to assuage those fears.
“We’re very careful that this is a proposition and we want to provide as much flexibility as possible,” he said. The agency will accept public comments before the proposed rules are finalized next year. The rules will come into effect from model year 2027.
Mr. Environmentalists praised Biden for making good on a promise he made in his first days in office, calling climate change a “moral imperative, an economic imperative” that would be central to his decision-making.
The International Energy Agency’s 2021 report found that countries must stop selling new gasoline-powered cars by 2035 to keep average global temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. Beyond that, scientists say, the effects of catastrophic heat waves, floods, droughts, crop failures and species extinctions will become significantly harder for humanity to deal with. The planet has already warmed by an average of 1.1 degrees Celsius.
Mr. Biden has pledged to cut the nation’s emissions in half by 2030 and to stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by 2050. He took a major step toward achieving that goal when he signed the Deflation Act last summer. That includes $370 billion over the next decade to fight climate change, including tax credits of up to $7,500 for the purchase of American-made electric vehicles.
That law is expected to help the U.S. cut its emissions by 40 percent by 2030 — Mr. Not enough to fulfill Biden’s pledge. Experts said the new EPA regulations, if enacted as proposed, should achieve Mr Biden’s goal.
“The EPA standards are a big step forward in addressing transportation, the largest source of climate pollution,” said Luke Donnachel, senior director of the Clean Vehicles and Buildings Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group.
A sharp increase in electric vehicles in the United States could mean widespread availability and sales of electric vehicles outside its borders, Mr. Donnachel said. “This could be a world-leading standard that puts the world on a much-needed path to curbing global pollution from transportation,” he said.
Laurence Dubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation, which helped broker the 2015 Paris climate agreement, welcomed the EPA’s move.
“This confirms to the world the seriousness of Joe Biden’s commitment to climate change and puts America at the forefront of climate change,” Ms Dubiana said. “It resonates well in Europe and the world.”
However, others see the proposed regulations as a violation of the government and say they will almost certainly face legal challenges.
“They’re using this established long-standing law for an entirely new purpose, to force an entirely new goal — to shift the industry to electric vehicles,” said Steven G. Bradbury said. The Trump administration. “It’s clearly directed by a presidential order to achieve these results. I don’t think you can do this. Congress never intended to use statutes in this way.