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Biden Eases Emission Rules Pre-Election: Green Goals or Gimmick?

The Biden administration made a jaw-dropping announcement on Wednesday, revealing its plan to relax the yearly tailpipe emissions reduction requirements until 2029. Talk about a wild change of plans! They’re also lowering the bar for pure-battery electric vehicles to meet these targets. It’s a softening of the standards for electric vehicles, and get this, it’s all happening right before the November presidential election. Coincidence? We think not!

But wait, there’s more. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants EVs to make up a whopping 67% of new vehicle sales by 2032, sticking to the same goal proposed last year. However, they’re now saying that automakers can achieve this using other mixes of vehicles, including plug-in hybrids and improved internal combustion engine vehicles, in addition to pure battery electric vehicles. So much for being all about EVs, huh?

The administration claims these new rules, which kick in for passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles beginning in 2027, are still the toughest-ever tailpipe reduction standards. They’re also adamant it will help President Joe Biden reach his goal of slashing over 7 billion cumulative tons of carbon dioxide by the time it’s fully implemented in 2055. We’ll believe it when we see it!

As if that’s not enough, the regulations also promise to slash fine particulate emissions by a whopping 95% and reduce the emissions of nitrogen oxides and other ozone smog precursors by about 75%. Sounds like they’re aiming for the stars with these promises, but we’ll see if they can actually deliver.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan has been quick to hype up these changes, telling reporters that they solidify America’s leadership in clean transportation and create jobs, all while advancing President Biden’s historic climate agenda. Well, isn’t that just peachy? We’ll believe it when we see it.

But hold on a second. The administration has been facing major pushback from auto manufacturers because of these ambitious EV targets. Trade groups representing many of these manufacturers are warning that the administration’s goals are simply not achievable in the intended time frame. They argue that it could limit consumer choice, hurt the auto industry, and lead to price hikes for all types of vehicles. Can you blame them for being skeptical?

And let’s not forget about the Republicans, including presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump, who’ve been criticizing the targets. They’re calling it a de-facto EV mandate and are warning that it will force the U.S. to rely on China for critical minerals supply chain, needed for EV battery manufacturing.

Despite all the opposition, senior administration officials are trying to put a positive spin on things, claiming that sales of plug-in hybrids and purely electric vehicles in the U.S. have started to pick up steam. They even managed to surpass U.S. sales targets of 1 million EVs last year. Well, isn’t that just the cherry on top?

And get this, the prices for EVs in the U.S. are supposedly continuing to drop. The senior administration officials are claiming that it’s all thanks to the consumer tax credit provision in the Inflation Reduction Act, which offers consumers up to $7,500 in EV subsidies. But we’ll see if that’s enough to convince people to ditch their gas guzzlers for electric cars. The jury’s still out on that one!

Written by Staff Reports

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