Biden to Make Electric Vehicles the American Norm

Electric Vehicles Biden

President Biden wants to cut emissions and boost the sale of electric cars -- and he has a bold plan to do it. According to the New York Times, the President's strategy exists in two steps: first, reinstate Obama-era emissions standards and next, tighten those up so that electric cars become the "dominant vehicle sold in the United States."

Biden's plan could begin to take shape within a matter of weeks, when the EPA reintroduces a rule that will require all passenger cars to have an average fuel efficiency of 51 MPG by 2026. This is, however, a slight tweak of the Obama-era rule, which aimed for all vehicles to achieve this standard by 2025.

Still, this plan has obstacles it must clear before it succeeds. Automakers fear that without networks of charging stations across the US, consumers will be resistant to the shift of going electric. This is partially what makes the two upcoming infrastructure bills being debated in Congress so pivotal. In June, Biden announced that he had reached a bipartisan agreement to include $7.5 billion for new charging stations, and hopes to secure $174 billion by the end of the year -- though it is not yet guaranteed whether either infrastructure bill will be passed by congress.

Still, Biden's team has made important headway in finding mutually beneficial solutions for both autoworkers and the planet. Biden's top climate representative, Gina McCarthy, speaks frequently with the president of the United Automobile Workers union, who has her personal phone number.

WSJ: How the EV Industry Is Trying to Fix Its Charging Bottleneck, July 8, 2021.

Why This Matters

Tailpipes are the US's largest source of greenhouse gases emissions and President Biden's plan represents a significant move to cut those emissions. The timing of the plan is also highly important in helping to prevent global temperature rise of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, which the IPCC predicts is necessary in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Biden's plan for tailpipe emissions, as well as his other climate policies, have earned him the reputation as the most climate-friendly president in history. His expected EPA fuel standard would mark a significant departure from those set by President Trump, who spent much of his term eliminating environmental protections.

Speaking to a Ford plant this spring, Biden told employees that "the future of auto is electric. There is no turning back."

CNN Business: Why demand for electric cars will grow, July 25, 2019.

State of the States

Many states have already set ambitious fuel-emission standards and targets on their own and are excited for the rest of the country to join them. California has pledged to end the sale of fuel-powered vehicles by the year 2035, the same year Biden hopes to achieve electric vehicle dominance.

In April, Governors from twelve states wrote the President about their states' individual emission-reducing strategies and to express support and encouragement of more stringent federal regulations.