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EPA Ratchets Up Vehicle Emissions Regulations by 2032

March 26, 2024

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Wednesday they would require an incredibly steep reduction in the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from vehicles by 2032, prompting warnings from businesses.

Starting in light-duty model cars and trucks in 2027, the EPA set a target of 170 grams per mile of emitted carbon dioxide, falling sharply to 85 grams per mile in 2032. Medium-duty model vans and truck standards would be set at 461 grams per mile and drop to 274 grams per mile by 2032. The EPA stated the average vehicle gets 400 grams per mile today.

“With transportation as the largest source of U.S. climate emissions, these strongest-ever pollution standards for cars solidify America’s leadership in building a clean transportation future and creating good-paying American jobs, all while advancing President (Joe) Biden’s historic climate agenda,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.

Regan was part of the EPA announcement at noon touting the new standards, which were changed from the even stricter standards proposed by the EPA in April 2023. The 2032 standard remained the same, but the run-up standards were loosened after industry pushback.

“Moderating the pace of EV adoption in 2027, 2028, 2029, and 2030 was the right call because it prioritizes a more reasonable electrification target in the next few – very critical – years of the EV transition,” said John Bozzella, president and CEO of Alliance for Automotive Innovation.

Bozzella said the adjusted targets would help give the Big 3 the time they need to adjust to supply chains and markets and would give the money and incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act time to make the necessary improvements.

Michigan Chamber of Commerce Director of Environmental and Energy Affairs Mike Alaimo said the business community was warning that the climb for the market was too steep.

“This is too far, too fast. Regulators need to push the pause button and work with the automotive industry and other key stakeholders to better understand the pace at which we are able to innovate and bring technology to the market,” Alaimo said.

He said Michigan manufacturing would bear the brunt of the market change, which was not impossible, and they were strongly supportive. He said it was up to the market to determine that, not the government regulators.

“I think innovators are heavily incentivized through free market mechanisms to innovate right now,” he said.

He said the proof was in what the automakers were doing through the manufacture of electric vehicles, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid models. However, the consumer was the section of the market equation that was “hesitant” to switch to electric vehicles.

“Because they fear the change involved with having a different type of way to fuel up and a different thought process and making sure you have the range to get where you need to go,” he said.

He said “range anxiety” was the largest of the barriers the consumers were talking about, and the tradition and habit of internal-combustion engines was another barrier.

The charging infrastructure was also not completely in place, though he said Michigan was doing a good job building that out.

“It’s all of these kinks that need to be worked out as you build – frankly – a completely new market pathway for automotive,” Alaimo said.

Many federal-level politicians from Michigan weighed in on the new emission standards for cars sold after 2026. U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) said she was happy the EPA talked with the automakers when developing the emission standards.

“I’ve always said Michigan automakers are the best in the world. And this is their moment,” Stabenow said.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) said her priority was protecting jobs in the United States, along with the environment. She was also glad the final rule included a bridge for hybrid vehicles that would make the emissions goal achievable.

“It’s important to protect vehicle choice – the number of available models has doubled in the last three years, and in the last year sticker prices are down 20 percent. We need to continue to work on making sure that these vehicles are affordable to everyone, that we have the infrastructure in place to make them accessible and practical for consumers, and bring jobs back to the U.S.,” Dingell said.

U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Tipton) wasn’t as optimistic about the new emission standards.

“Top-down government edicts cannot change the demand of consumers overnight, yet this is exactly the Biden administration’s plan. This rule restricts the choices of American consumers and will price millions out of the market, eliminate American jobs, and forever link our auto industry with the Chinese Communist Party,” Walberg said.

The last piece was a reference to the proposed Gotion and Marshall battery plants that have been fought by Republicans in Michigan, including Republican Party Chair Pete Hoekstra.

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) said she was glad to see the auto industry and government officials standing together Wednesday for the announcement.

She said it would end up being Michigan workers and companies, not Chinese workers and companies, that would build these vehicles.

“By responding to concerns from GM, Ford, Stellantis and their workers who will design and build these vehicles, the administration has established standards that are tough and aggressive, but also achievable,” Slotkin said.


Article courtesy MIRS News for SBAM’s Lansing Watchdog newsletter

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