Though California and a handful of other states have committed to banning new gas vehicle sales in the 2030s, the federal government has stopped short of taking such an action. That said, the Environmental Protection Agency recently suggested changes to emissions regulations so strict that an industry group calls them a “de facto battery-electric vehicle mandate” and said they’d be almost impossible to meet.
The Alliance for Automotive Innovation said it will inform the EPA that its new proposal to slash emissions is “neither reasonable nor achievable in the timeframe provided.” New rules would apply to vehicles in the 2027 through 2032 model years, mandating a 13 percent cut in average fleetwide emissions each year.
Though the proposed rules don’t require EVs to be the solution – they allow automakers to pursue other avenues, including making more efficient gas engines – changes to the U.S. market would be significant. Electric vehicles could account for as much as 50 percent of new vehicle sales by the end of the decade, and up to two-thirds of new cars could be electric by 2032.
The Alliance’s stance is that the new regulations would drive up the costs of new cars and limit choices for buyers. It also noted that the changes rely on a fledgling supply chain that might not keep up with the push. They also argued that the changes could draw automakers’ focus away from investing in electric technology by requiring them to deliver emissions improvements on a forced timeline.
Public comment periods like the one the Alliance will use to make its arguments to the EPA don’t always yield such robust opposition, but the group’s asks aren’t all that unreasonable sounding on the surface. They want the EPA to get on the same page with the NHTSA and the California Air Resources Board to create a comprehensive set of standards that accounts for the concerns around development costs and timeline, which, in addition to making things easier for the industry, could make the situation a whole lot easier to understand for buyers.