Revved Up: Biden Administration Set To Relax Tailpipe Emission Rules

By Victor Smiroff | Sunday, 18 February 2024 12:00 PM
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The Biden administration is reportedly preparing to relax restrictions on tailpipe emissions, a move aimed at appeasing unions and the automotive industry,.

The New York Times has reported. The proposed changes would provide automakers with a more extended period to transition to electric vehicles (EVs), with more lenient emissions standards implying that the majority of their production could be shifted post-2030, rather than within the next few years under current regulations.

President Joe Biden has consistently sought to gain the support of union workers, notably the United Auto Workers, who recently endorsed him in the 2024 presidential race. However, these workers harbor concerns about the potential impact of the EV transition on their employment, given that EV production requires less labor and is not governed by the same union contracts.

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The existing regulations, introduced by the Environmental Protection Agency last spring, stipulate that automakers must sell a significant number of zero-emission vehicles within a limited timeframe. If fully implemented, these regulations would result in approximately 67% of new car sales being electric by 2032, a stark increase from the current 7.6%.

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Former President Donald Trump has also attempted to court union workers, having met with officials and members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters twice in January. In a video released in July 2023, Trump explicitly sought the endorsement of the UAW, criticizing the Biden administration's EV policies for their detrimental impact on auto workers.

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The Biden administration's ambitions to electrify America's vehicles have been met with significant challenges, including lackluster demand. Despite an increase in inventory share from 2.8% to 5.7%, sales only rose from 3.1% in January 2023 to 3.6% in December 2023 in terms of market value.

The administration's efforts to roll out EV chargers have also encountered bureaucratic obstacles, resulting in only two charging stations being constructed as of December, despite the allocation of $7.5 billion in funds.

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