President-elect Joe Biden is expected to set back President Trump’s rollbacks related to clean car standards. In this regard, experts also expect Mr. Biden to set new auto emissions rules; however, how aggressive will they be?
In this regard, expectations and uncertainties are at their highest. According to an E&E News report, reforms will be needed since the transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the United States, representing 28% of the carbon emissions released in the country.
Biden and car emissions rules: aggressive or not?
Some people in the automotive industry expect Mr. Biden to follow several of the regulations established under the Obama administration, such as the 2009 first clean car standards. These rules required new vehicles’ fuel economy to increase by 5% each year to reach 51 mpg by 2025.
However, under the Trump administration, the Department of Transportation heavily relaxed these requirements. The agency only mandated 1.5% annual increases in fuel economy. In this regard, such a scenario would create 40.5 mpg by 2026.
Furthermore, the agency blocked California from setting its restrictions on tailpipe emissions.
Now, Mr. Biden is expected to move this agency and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) into an energy transition effort. New clean car rules may extend beyond 2025 as a result.
The main concerns revolve around how aggressive, or tough will the new regulations be. According to experts consulted by E&E, Mr. Biden could model the new rules after the voluntary emissions agreements already announced by Ford, Honda, BMW, Volkswagen, and Volvo.
All those companies have committed to agreements focused on reducing GHG from new passenger cars by 3.7% annually.
Another option, experts foresee, would be to go further on the Obama-era rules. According to Luke Tonachel, Natural Resources Defense Council director on clean vehicles and fuels told E&E Biden should go further if the country wants to accomplish its net-zero emissions goal by 2050.
Other experts believe Mr. Biden would need to be very strict regarding these standards, establishing that only zero-emission vehicles could comply by 2030.
In conformity with his environmental goals, the President-elect will need to gain the support and backing of the automotive industry’s giants.
However, this challenge might already be addressed. On the one hand, five automakers have reached voluntary agreements to develop more electric vehicles and reduce their carbon emissions.
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The current auto industry is pretty receptive to working with the next administration on clean cars.
Also, auto industry CEOs have committed to Mr. Biden’s efforts withdrawing their support for Mr. Trump’s rollback on clean energy regulations.