Biden Doubles Down on Push for Electric Vehicles


WASHINGTON — The Biden administration has solidified a key component of its climate agenda by implementing stringent new tailpipe rules for passenger cars and trucks. The regulations, announced Wednesday, are poised to dramatically steer the U.S. auto market towards electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids.

In a compromise with automakers and labor unions, the rules will undergo a more gradual implementation than initially proposed, providing automakers with increased flexibility in compliance strategies.

Nearly a year ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed an accelerated transition to EVs, aiming for two-thirds of all vehicle sales to be electric by the decade's end. However, on Wednesday, the EPA scaled back on this plan. Instead of solely incentivizing EV sales to meet strict pollution targets, the administration is expanding the role of plug-in hybrids, vehicles blending traditional combustion engines with EV batteries, in the electric transition.

According to Kelley Blue Book, EVs accounted for merely 7.6% of new car sales in 2023. The new regulations set a target range of 35% to 56% for EVs and 13% to 36% for plug-in hybrids by 2032.

Transportation significantly contributes to climate pollution, comprising nearly a third of all U.S. emissions. Consequently, even incremental changes can yield substantial environmental benefits. Margo Oge, former head of the EPA's office of Transportation and Air Quality, hailed the new standards as "the single most important climate regulation in the history of the country."

President Joe Biden has made the transition to EVs a focal point of his administration, emphasizing both its economic and environmental advantages. In August 2021, Biden publicly endorsed an ambitious goal for half of all vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2030 to be electric or plug-in hybrids. He underscored this commitment by test-driving an electric Jeep on the White House grounds.

Yet, political contention surrounds the EV transition. Former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for the 2024 presidential election, has vehemently criticized EVs in his speeches, inaccurately claiming they are predominantly manufactured in China. However, recent legislative efforts have aimed to bolster EV production in the United States.

With the new regulations granting automakers more leeway, EPA administrator Michael Regan rebuked assertions that the agency was imposing an EV "mandate." Regan clarified to reporters that the finalized rules adhered strictly to legal boundaries.

Concerns about the impact of EV adoption extend beyond partisan lines. The United Auto Workers, a prominent union that endorsed Biden, has voiced apprehensions regarding potential job implications, citing beliefs that EVs require fewer laborers in their production processes.

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No one is offering any criticism of people who choose these bi-oriented vehicles or the attendant lifestyle changes they demand. Mostly what's offered is criticism of their overall inefficiency at accomplishing their stated goals.

If anyone wants one of these hybrid vehicles that engage both types of fuel systems, or even make a complete alternative lifestyle transformation, the owner of X will be happy to take their money and use it to send satellites to do lighting tricks with their deflector shields over the West Texas skies.

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