Finance

Feds Throw EV Mandate Into Reverse

The Biden administration is expected to loosen its rules for the country’s switch to electric vehicles (EVs), The New York Times first reported Saturday, citing three people familiar with the plan. Is this because consumers are not buying electric cars at the rate the government had hoped — or is it because of the election?

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) change in its proposed rule would implement less stringent requirements for vehicle pollution in the short term — effectively allowing car manufacturers to have a smaller percentage of their fleet be electric in 2030 than under the Biden administration’s initial proposal.

This would certainly help their sales and profits but not in the long haul. The rule change would be a win for car manufacturers and labor unions, allowing the industry more time to boost its EV production and charging infrastructure before regulations encroach on the gas-powered vehicle market.

More consumers turned to hybrid cars instead of fully electric vehicles in 2023. EV sales made up just 7% of the market last year.

A rule change could also smooth over political concerns from the United Auto Workers union about President Biden’s re-election campaign. Automakers and car dealers have also warned the administration about pursuing a switch to EVs too quickly.

They may have convinced the administration to act. There was pressure from the UAW to ease the mandate because it fears pushing EVs will lead to jobs losses. With the presidential election looming on the horizon, and the fact that the president needs the union’s support, it looks like the UAW got what it wants.

The original emissions regulations for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement vehicles were designed to push EV market share to 67% of the new car market by 2032. As of this writing, we have not seen specifics on the new rules, they would require a slower ramp-up in sales through 2030 but still require a steeper ramp-up after that. This could be good or bad news depending on who is the next president.

Critics like President Donald Trump have strongly condemned Biden’s EV push. Trump has labeled the all-electric vehicle mandate as a “ridiculous all Electric Car Hoax.” He argues that such policies would lead to the demise of the American auto industry and hand over the production of electric vehicles entirely to China. Trump’s critique extends to the potential job losses in traditional automotive manufacturing hubs like Michigan, predicting a disastrous outcome should Biden’s “crazed concept” persist.

The administration’s softened stance comes during an election cycle, highlighting the political calculus behind environmental policy. Senior climate adviser Ali Zaidi insists that the overarching policies, including federal investments in renewable energy, will still facilitate the achievement of cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.

Some are saying that there are some signs that the EV market in the U.S. has already topped, the key concerns for buyers appear to be cost and network reliability. If the government continues to push the agenda, automakers will get penalized with an estimated billions of dollars in fines. Even though car makers are not making profits, and the results of these factors could massively impact jobs and the economy.

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Lauren Fix, The Car Coach is a nationally recognized automotive expert, media guest, journalist, author, keynote speaker and television host. A trusted car expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics and safety issues for both the auto industry and consumers. Her analysis is honest and straightforward.


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