DETROIT: President Joe Biden wants to erase Donald Trump’s setback on auto pollution and fuel economy standards.
He proposed new rules on Thursday and unveiled a non-binding agreement with most automakers to make electric, plug-in hybrid or hydrogen-electric vehicles to half of their sales in the United States by 2030.
These measures are part of Biden’s plan to tackle climate change by persuading people to trade in their gasoline vehicles for ones that run on electricity.
WHAT WILL THE NEW STANDARDS DO?
They essentially refer to pollution and fuel consumption requirements close to those adopted when Barack Obama was president. The Obama standards required the new vehicle fleet to reduce an average of 5% of carbon dioxide emissions each model year through 2025. Trump reduced that figure to 1.5% per year and added an additional year to the rules. Biden’s plan calls for emissions reductions of 10% in 2023 and 5% each year thereafter through 2026. Trump’s standards ended with an average fleet of around 29 mpg in actual driving. The Biden rule is expected to be close to the Obama mileage requirement, around 37 mpg. Consumer Reports calculates that the new standards will bring only 75% of the emission reductions from the original Obama standards due to Trump-caused delays and loopholes.
WILL THEY HELP CLIMATE CHANGE?
They should, although environmental groups say they are not acting fast enough to tackle an acute problem that has warmed the oceans and spawned more powerful storms, wildfires and floods. They also complain that the standards did not offset the increase in emissions during the Trump years and lament the credits that will allow automakers to offset gas-guzzling vehicles. Some say there should be a plan to completely phase out gasoline-powered passenger vehicles by 2030. The EPA says that over the years its proposal will save about 200 billion gallons of gasoline and reduce carbon pollution by approximately 2 billion metric tonnes. That’s almost three times the amount cars emit in a year. If automakers sell more electric vehicles, that could also reduce emissions, although the precise benefit depends on the fuel used to generate the electricity that charges them.
WILL THE ELECTRIC VEHICLE OPERATION BRING MORE CHOICES?
Perhaps. Agreements with car manufacturers are not binding, so there is no obligation to comply. But long before Biden was elected, automakers were already heading towards a similar sales target, developing more electric vehicles after seeing the success of global sales leader Tesla. The industry says it can only meet the targets if the government spends a lot on charging stations and incentives to get people to buy electric vehicles, so Biden will play an important role in getting Congress to approve the funding. .
Ford, General Motors and Stellantis have promised all-electric pickup trucks, and automakers are starting to roll out electric SUVs to the heart of the US market. Consulting firm IHS Markit says there are currently only around 50 fully electric models on sale in the United States, a fraction of the roughly 350 models sold by all automakers. But he expects 130 electric vehicle models by 2026. Dave Cooke, senior vehicle analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, expects electric vehicles to be available in all states due to the ‘OK. Currently, many are only sold on coasts where there are state requirements for zero emission vehicles.
WILL THIS BE THE END OF MUSCLE CARS OR GIANT SUVS?
Probably not. But since the standards almost match Obama’s requirements, they could become more stringent for large trucks and SUVs. This will likely force automakers to make electric or hybrid versions of their more thirsty models, but it probably won’t undo them. “I think they can do a lot with the same truck platform, and if you want the big SUV, you’ll have to get it in a hybrid or an electric,” said Kristin Dziczek, senior vice president and analyst. policies at the Center for Automotive Research, an industry think tank. And muscle cars are likely to be even faster when switched to electricity. In almost all cases, electric vehicles have more instantaneous power than gasoline vehicles.
WILL AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE COST MORE THAN A GASOLINE CAR OR TRUCK?
Electric vehicles today cost between $ 8,000 and $ 10,000 more than a combustion engine vehicle, according to consulting firm Alix Partners. But automakers say the difference is narrowing as they sell more EVs and develop lower-cost batteries. Biden has proposed extending tax credits and rebates for electric vehicle buyers. There is now a federal tax credit of $ 7,500, but it is capped when automakers reach 200,000 sales of electric vehicles. (GM and Tesla can no longer offer it). A Senate bill promoted by Biden would extend it to all automakers and offer up to $ 12,500 in tax credits for five years, making electric vehicles more affordable.