Congress, the courts, and contract negotiations between the United Auto Workers and America’s “Big Three” auto manufacturers pose severe difficulties to President Joe Biden’s electric vehicle (EVs) campaign. He’s not making anyone happy.
By 2030, the Biden administration hopes to have eliminated the sale of automobiles powered by internal combustion engines, with more ambitious goals set for the years after that. The Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act, which would amend the Clean Air Act to keep EV sales from being banned, will be put to a vote in the House soon. Under the Clean Air Act, California is granted exemptions that allow the state to impose stricter limits on automobile pollution than the federal government.
The proposal would mandate that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invalidate all waivers issued since January 2022 to ban the sale or use of new motor vehicles with internal combustion engines. By 2032, the EPA’s planned strict tailpipe pollution regulations will obligate U.S. automakers to have 67% of their new car fleets be EVs. Eight additional states have committed to California’s plan to prohibit the sale of new gas-powered vehicles after 2035, which was revealed in August 2022.
The United Auto Workers union is concerned that massive subsidies for automakers to transition to electric vehicles (EVs) will not be in the best interest of the union’s workers. An additional $7.5 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act would be used to create a nationwide charging network, and the government has pledged $12 billion to help manufacturers convert their operations for EV production. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provides tax incentives totaling $12.5 billion to encourage people to move to electric vehicles.
On Thursday, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear two crucial challenges to the Biden EV agenda. Two lawsuits are pending in federal court about tailpipe emissions standards for vehicles built between 2024 and 2026: Texas v. EPA and Natural Resources Defense Council v. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).