We know who will be first on the waiting list for a yellow electric Corvette. Noted muscle “car guy” President Biden has released his administration’s sweeping plans to make American cars and light trucks more fuel-efficient by moving aggressively toward electric vehicles (EVs) over the rest of this decade.
As expected last Thursday, the president signed an executive order calling for half of new U.S. car and light truck sales to be all-electric or plug-in electric hybrids by 2030. His order depends on a package of regulatory measures, hammered out through extensive consultations with labor, environmental, and manufacturing groups.
The president’s EV plan relies on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Transportation toughening fuel efficiency standards, as well as large federal capital investments in electric charging infrastructure and EV purchase rebates included in the Build Back Better infrastructure packages making their way through Congress right now. Tell your members of Congress to pass the full Biden Build Back Better agenda to create jobs and tackle the climate crisis!
Biden rolled his plan out in a major announcement event at the White House, touting the emissions reductions and jobs to be produced by implementing new auto manufacturing technology, from batteries to semiconductors. “The question is whether we lead or fall behind in the race for the future,” Biden said. “Folks, the rest of the world is moving ahead. We have to catch up.”
In a good sign for seeing these goals come to fruition, the CEOs of the three biggest American automakers attended the announcement. They are rolling out their own new EV models at an accelerating pace, and have pledged support for these goals if the federal government passes the aforementioned investments incentivizing purchases and public charging stations.
“With [these] actions, President Biden is making needed progress to cut carbon pollution from cars and trucks. His commitment to a 50 percent reduction in carbon pollution from new cars by 2030, coupled with urgently needed action by Congress in both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and budget process to ensure adequate investments in electric vehicles and clean energy, will cut the pollution that drives climate change, save families money at the pump and deliver clean air for all,” said Carol M. Browner, the national League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Board Chair and former EPA Administrator. “LCV looks forward to actively engaging in the public process to make certain these and future standards are even stronger and developed to ensure that all new cars sold are zero emission vehicles by 2035. Now is the time to set the strongest possible clean car standards to meet the climate ambition goals that science and justice require.”
Simon Mui, deputy director for clean vehicles and fuels at the Natural Resources Defense Council, called the Biden announcement “bold plans” that would “clean up tailpipe pollution and spur the transition to zero-emission vehicles, a much-needed step to turn our autos and trucks into a source of innovation, jobs and a clean-energy future. Now comes the hard part of turning that pledge into reality. We look forward to working with EPA to adopt the strongest possible standards that ensure automakers and truck manufacturers deliver on real world reductions to cut pollution from gasoline and diesel vehicles.”
The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy noted these new investments would be a major economic boon for the southeastern states, including North Carolina. “Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee represent approximately 18% of the nation’s population but have collectively secured approximately 36% of nationwide electric vehicle investment (up from 28% a year ago)and 18% of EV jobs (up 4% from last year).”