Biden Admin Finalizes Rules To Crack Down on Gas Cars

(Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)
March 20, 2024

President Joe Biden's Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday finalized its restrictions on gas-powered car emissions, an attempt to fast-track transitioning the country to electric vehicles.

Under the rules, which the Washington Post described as Biden's "most far-reaching climate regulation yet," carmakers will have to bump up electric and hybrid vehicle sales—to 56 percent of sales for EVs and 13 percent for hybrids—while drastically cutting gas emissions by 2032, according to the Post.

The rule change comes as electric car sales have slackened, according to Kelley Blue Book, which found that "the EV market in the U.S. is still growing, but not growing as fast." Tesla in recent months had to issue highly publicized recalls involving warning lights, autopilot systems, and backup cameras, while Ford in January cut back production of its F-150 electric truck because of the EV slowdown.

As sweeping as the regulations are, they are looser than the Biden administration's original plan, which was to require at least 67 percent of new cars and light-duty trucks to be fully electric by 2032, the Washington Free Beacon reported. The House voted in December to block that plan, while auto unions blasted Biden, who has called himself "the most pro-union president in history." United Auto Workers president Shawn Fain went so far as to say his union would withhold endorsing Biden for reelection this year.

United Auto Workers reversed its stance and endorsed Biden after the EPA announced it would scale back the electrification timeline.

Industry groups are saying that the scale-back isn't much, with many describing the regulations as a de facto mandate. "At a time when millions of Americans are struggling with high costs and inflation, the Biden administration has finalized a regulation that will unequivocally eliminate most new gas cars and traditional hybrids from the U.S. market in less than a decade," the American Petroleum Institute said in a statement. "As much as the President and EPA claim to have 'eased' their approach, nothing could be further from the truth."

The institute said it is prepared to challenge the regulations in court.