Biden-Harris Administration Sets Historic Pollution Standards for Cars

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced final national pollution standards for passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles for model years 2027 through 2032 and beyond. These standards will avoid more than 7 billion tons of carbon emissions and provide nearly $100 billion of annual net benefits to society, including $13 billion of annual public health benefits due to improved air quality, and $62 billion in reduced annual fuel costs, and maintenance and repair costs for drivers. The final standards deliver on the significant pollution reductions outlined in the proposed rule, while accelerating the adoption of cleaner vehicle technologies. EPA is finalizing this rule as sales of clean vehicles, including plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles, hit record highs last year.

EPA projects an increase in U.S. auto manufacturing employment in response to these final standards, consistent with the broader Biden-Harris Administration commitment to create good-paying, union jobs leading the clean vehicle future. Strong standards have historically contributed to the U.S. leading the world in the supply of clean technologies, with corresponding benefits for American global competitiveness and domestic employment. Since President Biden took office, companies have announced more than $160 billion in investment in U.S. clean vehicle manufacturing and the U.S. auto manufacturing sector has added more than 100,000 jobs.

These standards will provide greater certainty for the auto industry, catalyzing private investment, creating good-paying union jobs, and invigorating and strengthening the U.S. auto industry. Over the next decade, the standards, paired with President Biden’s historic Investing in America agenda and investments in U.S. manufacturing, will set the U.S. auto sector on a trajectory for sustained growth. Additionally, the final standards will lower costs for consumers. Once fully phased in, the standards will save the average American driver an estimated $6,000 in reduced fuel and maintenance over the life of a vehicle.

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan will join President Biden’s National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi today at an event in Washington, DC to announce the final standards and how they build on President Biden’s historic climate and economic record. The event will be livestreamed starting at noon EDT.

With transportation as the largest source of U.S. climate emissions, these strongest-ever pollution standards for cars solidify America’s leadership in building a clean transportation future and creating good-paying American jobs, all while advancing President Biden’s historic climate agenda,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “The standards will slash over 7 billion tons of climate pollution, improve air quality in overburdened communities, and give drivers more clean vehicle choices while saving them money. Under President Biden’s leadership, this Administration is pairing strong standards with historic investments to revitalize domestic manufacturing, strengthen domestic supply chains and create good-paying jobs.” 

President Biden is investing in America, in our workers, and in the unions that built our middle class and established the U.S. auto sector as a leader in the world,” said President Biden’s National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi. “The President’s agenda is working. On factory floors across the nation, our autoworkers are making cars and trucks that give American drivers a choice – a way to get from point A to point B without having to fuel up at a gas station. From plug-in hybrids to fuel cells to fully electric, drivers have more choices today. Since 2021, sales of these vehicles have quadrupled and prices continue to come down. This growth means jobs, and it means we are moving faster and faster to take on the climate crisis – all thanks to the President’s leadership.

Statement from United Automobile Workers: “The EPA has made significant progress on its final greenhouse gas emissions rule for light-duty vehicles. By taking seriously the concerns of workers and communities, the EPA has come a long way to create a more feasible emissions rule that protects workers building ICE vehicles, while providing a path forward for automakers to implement the full range of automotive technologies to reduce emissions.

Light- and Medium-Duty Vehicle Final Standards

The final standards announced today, the “Multi Pollutant Emissions Standards for Model Years 2027 and Later Light-Duty and Medium-Duty Vehicles,” build on EPA’s existing emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks for model years 2023 through 2026. The standards continue the technology-neutral and performance-based design of previous EPA standards for cars, pickups, and vans, and leverage advances in clean car technologies to further reduce both climate pollution and smog- and soot-forming emissions. EPA is finalizing the same standard proposed for MY 2032 while allowing additional time for the auto sector to scale up clean vehicle manufacturing supply chains in the first three years covered by the rule.

Annually, the net benefits to society for the light- and medium-duty final rule are estimated to be $99 billion. The final rule is expected to avoid 7.2 billion tons of CO2 emissions through 2055, roughly equal to four times the emissions of the entire transportation sector in 2021. It will also reduce fine particulate matter and ozone, preventing up to 2,500 premature deaths in 2055 as well as reducing heart attacks, respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses, aggravated asthma, and decreased lung function.

EPA received extensive feedback on the proposed rule, including through written comments, testimony at public hearings, and other stakeholder engagements. The final standards were informed by the best available data in the public record and rigorous technical assessments. Like the proposal, EPA’s final rule gives manufacturers the flexibility to efficiently reduce emissions and meet the performance-based standards through the mix of technologies they decide is best for them and their customers. EPA’s analysis considers a broad suite of available emission control technologies, and projects that consumers will continue to have a wide range of vehicle choices under the final rule, including advanced gasoline vehicles, hybrids, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and full battery electric vehicles.

Compared to the existing MY 2026 standards, the final MY 2032 standards represent a nearly 50% reduction in projected fleet average GHG emissions levels for light-duty vehicles and 44% reductions for medium-duty vehicles. In addition, the standards are expected to reduce emissions of health-harming fine particulate matter from gasoline-powered vehicles by over 95%. This will improve air quality nationwide and especially for people who live near major roadways and have environmental justice concerns.

Investing in America’s Clean Transportation Future

The final rule reflects the significant investments in clean vehicle technologies that industry is already making domestically and abroad, as well as ongoing U.S. market shifts and increasing consumer interest in clean vehicles. The Biden-Harris Administration is also directly supporting communities across America in moving towards a cleaner transportation future, including by building a national network of EV chargers and alternative-fuel stations; ensuring domestic manufacturers have the critical minerals and materials they need to make EV batteries; and funding clean transit and clean school buses, with priority for underserved communities. President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is focused on growing the American economy from the bottom up and the middle out – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to creating a manufacturing and innovation boom, to building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.

Here’s what leaders are saying about the final rule:

I’ve always said Michigan automakers are the best in the world. And this is their moment,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI). “I appreciate EPA’s commitment to engaging with our automakers and autoworkers to develop an ambitious but achievable final rule. It represents an opportunity for union workers to continue to build the vehicles of the future right here in the U.S. and tackle the climate crisis.

My priority will always be to protect American jobs and our environment, keep the United States at the forefront of automotive manufacturing, technology, and innovation, and keep our domestic industry strong and competitive,” said Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-06). “The EPA has worked with all stakeholders to reach this final rule that includes hybrid and electric vehicles, and ensure these goals are achievable. It’s important to protect vehicle choice – the number of available models has doubled in the last three years, and in the last year sticker prices are down 20%. We need to continue to work on making sure that these vehicles are affordable to everyone, that we have the infrastructure in place to make them accessible and practical for consumers, and bring jobs back to the U.S. The bottom line is that the future of the industry must be created in America and driven by American workers, and we are all committed to working together toward that future.

The future is electric. Automakers are committed to the EV transition – investing enormous amounts of capital and building cutting edge battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, traditional hybrids and fuel cell vehicles that drive efficiency and convert petroleum miles to electric miles,” said John Bozzella, President and CEO, Alliance for Automotive Innovation. “Consumers have tons of choices. But pace matters. Moderating the pace of EV adoption in 2027, 2028, 2029 and 2030 was the right call because it prioritizes more reasonable electrification targets in the next few (very critical) years of the EV transition. These adjusted EV targets – still a stretch goal – should give the market and supply chains a chance to catch up. It buys some time for more public charging to come online, and the industrial incentives and policies of the Inflation Reduction Act to do their thing. And the big one? The rules are mindful of the importance of choice to drivers and preserves their ability to choose the vehicle that’s right for them.

This is a day to celebrate American achievement. The step EPA is taking today will slash climate pollution and air pollution,” said Amanda Leland, Executive Director of Environmental Defense Fund. “It will bring more jobs for workers, more choices and more savings for consumers, and a healthier future for our children. The U.S. has leapt forward in the global race to invest in clean vehicles, with $188 billion and nearly 200,000 jobs on the way. Jobs in communities across the country, in places like Michigan, Nevada, and Kentucky. These clean car standards will help supercharge economic expansion and make America stronger.

Related Article: Intel and Biden-Harris Administration Forge Path for $8.5 Billion Funding Under CHIPS and Science Act

These standards make clear that securing America’s global leadership in manufacturing and securing a better future are 100% aligned,” said Albert Gore, Executive Director of the Zero Emission Transportation Association. “We have everything we need today to meet and exceed this standard, and that means more of the vehicles sold in America will be made in America.

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