US to Ease Vehicle Emissions Rules, Stirring Environmental Concerns

US to Ease Vehicle Emissions Rules, Stirring Environmental Concerns

It seems the Biden administration is pumping the brakes on aggressive new environmental rules that would have pushed automakers to make electric vehicles their main focus by 2032. According to a New York Times article yesterday, industry stakeholders have persuaded the administration to give them more time to bring down EV costs and build out a nationwide charging network.

The Times reports that labor unions also pressed Biden, arguing they need more time to unionize new EV factory workers – crucial support for Biden as he faces re-election attacks from Donald Trump. This pullback comes against the backdrop of our intensifying climate crisis. 2022 shattered the previous global heat record from 2016, capping a decade where each year blew past the last as the hottest on record.

The original Environmental Protection Agency requirements called for electric vehicles to make up 67% of new light-duty vehicle sales by 2032 – a massive spike from the 7.6% EV share last year. But EV sales have actually slowed recently. The auto industry insists on prioritizing less affordable electric trucks and SUVs, which the supply chain can’t keep up with.

So while the climate stakes remain extremely high, Biden faces economic and political realities in easing up this aggressive EV transition timeline for automakers.