Strict new EPA rules could spell the end for gasoline-powered cars

The White House is continuing its relentless pursuit against climate change after announcing Wednesday the strictest vehicle emission proposals in history.

It could mean 67% of all new passenger cars and light truck sales will be electric by 2032, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans.

“Together, these actions will accelerate the ongoing transition to a clean vehicles future, tackle the climate crisis and improve our air quality for communities across the country,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan told reporters Tuesday ahead of a formal announcement.

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The proposal could launch the auto industry into a transformative era, where gasoline-powered vehicles are rapidly replaced by cars and trucks that can be charged from home or the growing number of charging stations nationwide.

For example, Walmart announced last week it would be adding charging stations to thousands of its stores by 2030.

Around half of the new medium-duty vehicles, such as landscaping and delivery trucks, will also be electrified by 2032, according to the proposals. Between 25% and 50% of heavy-duty trucks would also transition under new rules.

Should the most aggressive rules be adopted, automakers must cut vehicle emissions by more than half the current rate. The current rules expire at the end of 2026, with the new rules being phased in beginning in 2027 and lasting until 2032.

Read More: New EPA rule could eliminate up to 6,000 tons of cancer-causing air pollution annually

The move follows $31 billion in EV infrastructure investment by Congress. That includes $7.5 billion in EV charging, $10 billion in clean transportation, and over $7 billion in EV battery components, critical minerals, and materials, among other investments, according to the White House.

New electric car buyers are also being enticed by a $7,500 tax credit or a $4,000 credit for buying a used electric vehicle.

It also follows the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act last year, which is already investing $370 billion into green energy production, a key component of the automobile transition.

Part of the White House’s aim is to recreate the auto industry, one of the leading sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the country. President Joe Biden has said that his vision is that a cleaner auto industry could encourage growth and pave the way for more well-paid union jobs.

While some groups claim the transition to greener transportation could cost 500,000 auto jobs, others believe it could create 150,000 jobs.

”This is what we mean when we say that tackling the climate crisis is about creating opportunity,” said Regan during Wednesday’s press conference. “An opportunity to put the United States on a clear path to win the jobs and the industries of the 21st century. That’s what President Biden’s historic investments in America are all about and that’s what these performance standards, when finalized, will deliver.”

According to the EPA, final hearings regarding the new rules will be heard on May 9th and 10th.

Christopher Harress

Christopher Harress |

Climate change reporter on the east and Gulf coasts.

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