In its fight to tackle climate change, the Biden administration is imposing a new set of regulations to enforce fuel efficiency with the aim of reaching a “zero-emissions future.”
This week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) imposed an ambitious set of regulations, undoing a rule set by former President Donald Trump and setting the stage for the widescale adoption of electric cars.
The EPA regulations require all new cars and light-duty vehicles to achieve a fuel efficiency rating of 40mpg – a slight increase from the 38mpg standard the EPA suggested in its original proposal, and an 8mpg increase from the rule previously imposed by former President Donald Trump’s EPA in 2020.
“Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing the most ambitious federal greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks ever,” The EPA wrote in a press release. “The final standards, for Model Years (MY) 2023 through 2026, leverage advances in clean car technology to unlock $190 billion in net benefits to Americans, including reducing climate pollution, improving public health, and saving drivers money at the pump.”
“EPA is planning to initiate a separate rulemaking to establish multi-pollutant emission standards under the Clean Air Act for MY 2027 and later that will speed the transition of the light-duty vehicle fleet toward a zero-emissions future consistent with President Biden’s Executive Order, ‘Strengthening American Leadership in Clean Cars and Trucks.’”
The EPA clarifies that the standards are designed to boost adoption for electric vehicles in the near future.
“EPA’s analysis shows manufacturers can comply with the final standards with modest increases in the numbers of electric vehicles entering the fleet,” the release continued. “By MY 2026, EPA projects that the final standards can be met with sales of about 17 percent electric vehicles (EVs), and wider uptake of advanced gasoline engine and vehicle technologies available today.”
“As the GHG standards get stronger over four years, sales of EVs and plug-in hybrid vehicles will grow from about 7 percent market share in MY 2023 to about 17 percent in MY 2026, the agency projects. These increasing levels of EVs will position the United States to achieve aggressive GHG emissions reductions from transportation over the long term.”
The changes to fuel efficiency requirements come amid skyrocketing gas prices in the United States, and may help to ease the burden on commuters with high-efficiency vehicles in the future.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg recently argued that the solution to higher gas prices was the widespread adoption of electric vehicles. Speaking to MSNBC, Buttigieg championed a provision in the “Build Back Better” bill that would give families a tax credit for buying an electric vehicle, arguing “once they own that vehicle, [they] will never have to worry about gas prices again.”
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