The EPA’s bold plan

DETROIT – The U.S. authorities’s most bold plan ever to slash planet-warming greenhouse gasoline emissions from passenger automobiles faces skepticism each about how lifelike it’s and whether or not it goes far sufficient.

The Environmental Safety Company in April introduced new strict emissions limits that the company says are important to slowing local weather change as folks across the globe endure record-high temperatures, raging wildfires and intense storms.

The EPA says the business may meet the bounds if 67% of new-vehicle gross sales are electrical by 2032, a tempo the auto business calls unrealistic. Nonetheless, the brand new rule wouldn’t require automakers to spice up electrical car gross sales immediately. As a substitute, it units emissions limits and permits automakers to decide on the best way to meet them.

Even when the business boosts EV gross sales to the extent the EPA recommends, any discount in air pollution may show extra modest than the company expects. The Related Press has estimated that just about 80% of automobiles being pushed within the U.S. — greater than 200 million — would nonetheless run on gasoline or diesel gasoline.


Pointing to surging temperatures and smoke from Canadian wildfires that fouled the air over components of the U.S. this summer season, Dan Becker, director of the protected local weather transport marketing campaign on the Middle for Organic Variety, mentioned: “We need to do a hell of a lot more.”

He needs the EPA to slash emissions even additional.

Carbon dioxide and methane ranges within the ambiance preserve rising. Scientists say July will find yourself being the most well liked month on document and sure the warmest human civilization has seen. The Earth is just a few tenths of a level from the aim set out within the 2015 Paris Settlement on local weather change of limiting warming to 1.5 levels Celsius (2.7 levels Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial instances.

Although a panel of United Nations scientists mentioned in March that there was nonetheless time to forestall the worst hurt from local weather change, the scientists mentioned the world would want to shortly minimize practically two-thirds of carbon emissions by 2035 to keep away from climate that’s much more excessive.

Peter Slowik, a senior EV researcher with the nonprofit Worldwide Council on Clear Transportation, has calculated that to chop emissions sufficient to achieve Paris Settlement targets, the proportion of latest electrical and plug-in hybrid automobiles offered must attain 67% by 2030. The EPA has projected 60% by then.

“The EPA proposal is a really great start to putting us on a Paris-compatible path,” said Slowik, whose group provides research and analysis to environmental regulators. “But no, it isn’t enough to comply with the Paris accord.”

The council has calculated that carbon dioxide pollution from passenger vehicles would have to drop to 57 grams per mile by 2030 to reach the Paris goals. The EPA’s preferred regulation would cut those emissions to 102 grams per mile by 2030 and to 82 by 2032.

In addition, Slowik cautioned, carbon emissions from new gasoline vehicles would have to drop 3.5% each year from 2027 to 2032. The EPA’s preferred regulation doesn’t set reductions for gas vehicles. But fuel economy standards recently proposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration could.


The EPA contends its proposal will significantly reduce pollution. It estimates that passenger-vehicle carbon dioxide emissions would fall 47% by 2055, when the agency expects most gas-powered vehicles to be gone.

As the biggest source of pollution in the United States, transportation generates roughly 29% of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions, according to the EPA. Passenger vehicles are by far the worst transportation polluters, spewing 58% of that sector’s greenhouse gas pollution.

The EPA also is proposing big reductions from other sources, including heavy trucks, electric power plants and the oil and gas industry.

Using sales projections from the EPA and industry analysts from 2022 through model year 2032, the AP calculated that Americans will likely buy roughly 60 million EVs. With 284 million passenger vehicles on U.S. roads today, at that pace only about 22% of them would be electric in nine years. Two million are already in use, and vehicles now stay on the road for an average of 12.5 years.

Dave Cooke, a senior vehicles analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said that even with slow vehicle turnover, studies show the EPA’s proposal would be an important step toward a zero-carbon transportation system by 2050. In addition, power plants that fuel EVs, he noted, will be converted to renewable energy such as wind and solar.

“We know that EVs provide a compounding benefit as we dramatically cut (electric power) grid emissions,” Cooke said.

His group is among those pushing the EPA for more stringent standards than the agency is pursuing.

The EPA will consider such comments before adopting a final regulation in March 2024.


The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade group that represents companies such as General Motors, Ford and Toyota that make most new vehicles sold in the United States, argues the EPA standards are “neither reasonable nor achievable in the time frame covered.”

The alliance says the agency is underestimating the cost and difficulty of making EV batteries, including short supplies of critical minerals that also are used in laptops, cellphones and other items. Sizable gaps in the charging network for long-distance travel and for people living in apartments pose another obstacle.

Though automakers continue to downsize engines and produce more efficient transmissions, the alliance says they need to use their limited resources more on producing EVs than on developing more fuel-efficient technology for gas-powered engines.


Studies by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology show that shifting to electric vehicles delivers a 30% to 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over combustion vehicles, depending on how the electricity is derived.

Jessika Trancik, an MIT professor of energy systems, said electric vehicles are cleaner over their lifetimes, even after taking into account the pollution caused by the mining of metals for batteries. The university has a website that lists auto emissions by vehicle.

Trancik believes that once EV sales accelerate, more people will want them, and the percentages could actually exceed EPA predictions. Sales of EVs, she noted, are growing far faster in many other countries.

“You often see exponential growth,” she mentioned.

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