Biden Executive Order Seeks to Raise Emissions Standards, Promote Electric Vehicles

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On Aug. 5, the Biden administration issued an executive order on vehicle emissions. In addition to instructing the Environmental Protection Agency to adopt California’s stringent emissions standards, it sets the goal that 50 percent of all light trucks and passenger cars be plug-in electric, battery cell electric, or fuel cell electric by 2030.

The order has come as the Senate works to finalize a bipartisan infrastructure bill that could include $7.5 billion for a national electric vehicle charging network as well as billions for electric and low-emission buses and $6 billion for battery manufacturing. An earlier version of the bill included $100 billion in subsidies for the purchase of electric vehicles.

This new funding comes on top of existing subsidies for electric vehicles, which range from federal tax credits to state and local programs. Electric vehicle manufacturers have also had direct financial backing from the government, with Tesla alone receiving $2.5 billion in subsidies, not counting $465 billion it received as part of the 2009 bailout of American automakers.

In a joint statement in support of the executive order, Ford, GM, and Stellantis N.V., the Dutch multinational that owns Fiat Chrysler, emphasized the importance of the Biden administration’s other financial commitments to the realization of a larger electric vehicle fleet.

“This represents a dramatic shift from the U.S. market today that can be achieved only with the timely deployment of the full suite of electrification policies committed to by the Administration in the Build Back Better Plan, including purchase incentives, a comprehensive charging network of sufficient density to support the millions of vehicles these targets represent, investments in R&D, and incentives to expand the electric vehicle manufacturing and supply chains in the United States,” said the automakers.

The automakers were echoed by BMW, Ford, Volkswagen, and Volvo in another joint statement: “While the California framework companies are driving towards 40-50 percent of our sales being EVs in the next nine years, bold action from our partners in the federal government is crucial to build consumer demand for electric vehicles and put us on track to achieve the global commitments of the Paris Climate Agreement. That includes a strong nationwide greenhouse gas emissions standard, continued investments in charging infrastructure, and broad consumer incentives for all electric vehicle purchases.”

By Nathan Worcester

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