Two thirds of all new cars sales would be electric within a decade under an ambitious new rule.
by Jay Turner
The Biden Administration hit the accelerator on the United States’s transition to a clean energy future last week. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled some of the most ambitious emissions standards for vehicles in the world. If adopted as proposed, the rules would halve emissions from U.S. cars and trucks over the next decade, putting the nation on the road to halve total U.S. emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Transforming the transportation sector is one of the biggest challenges in advancing a clean energy transition. The 278 million vehicles in the U.S. now account for more emissions than the entire power sector. But unlike the power sector, which has rapidly reduced emissions since 2000 as it phases out coal, transportation emissions have been falling much more slowly.
This proposal will change that. Although the proposed limitations on tailpipe emissions do not mandate any specific technology, in the near term, automakers are doubling down on their investments in electrification. With these rules, the EPA projects that in 2032 EVs will account for 67% of new passenger vehicles and 46% of medium-duty trucks.
Many skeptics view the EPA’s proposal as a pipe dream, given that EVs accounted for only 6% of new car sales in 2022 and a tiny proportion of new truck sales. And the rule would create other challenges: unless the U.S. significantly boosts development of minerals and manufacturing of batteries, it will only deepen its reliance on China, which leads the world in battery materials and manufacturing.
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