Enforcement and Inspection, Environmental, Transportation

Auto Dealers Urge EPA to Hit Brakes on Stricter Emissions Rules

A group of more than 4,700 auto dealerships, calling themselves the “EV Voice of the Customer,” sent a second letter to President Joseph Biden, Jr., urging him to “hit the brakes” on a proposed EPA electric vehicle (EV) mandate.

This letter, dated January 25, 2024, reminded the president that the industry group had sent a prior letter in November 2023 that reflects “the voice of our customers—the Americans who come to our dealerships every day to buy vehicles that are affordable and meet their needs.”

The timing of the missive arrives just weeks before the EPA is expected to finalize its ruling on proposed tougher federal vehicle emissions standards, which “leverages advances in clean car technology to further reduce both climate pollution and smog- and soot-forming emissions,” according to an Agency press release about the proposed rule.

The proposed standards, which impact light- and medium-duty vehicles beginning with model year (MY) 2027, are projected to accelerate the transition to EVs.

“Depending on the compliance pathways manufacturers select to meet the standards, EPA projects that EVs could account for 67% of new light-duty vehicle sales and 46% of new medium-duty vehicle sales in MY 2032,” the EPA news release continues. “The proposed MY 2032 light-duty standards are projected to result in a 56% reduction in projected fleet average greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target levels compared to the existing MY 2026 standards. The proposed MY 2032 medium-duty vehicle standards would result in a 44% reduction compared to MY 2026 standards.”

“Most automakers around the globe have pledged hundreds of billions of dollars to transition to all-electric new vehicle sales in the coming decade as momentum to address climate change builds,” notes AP News. “Last year, U.S. EV sales overall grew 47% to a record 1.2 million, according to Motorintelligence.com. EVs are seeing year-over-year growth, but only hit 7.6% of overall market share in 2023.”

The letter from the dealerships refer to the proposed rule as an “[EV] mandate” and cites the following reasons the proposed rule is unrealistic:

  • The number of EVs that qualify for the $7,500 tax credit in 2024 is less than half the number that qualified in 2023 (only 19 versus 43 last year). New rules disqualify vehicles that rely heavily on components and minerals from China, which currently dominates the supply chain for batteries. The cost premium for EVs is a major factor for consumers, and the loss of these credits is bound to depress consumer demand in 2024 and beyond.
  • Despite the $7.5 billion allocated two years ago to build public EV charging stations, just three have been opened to date. Range anxiety is a major factor in consumers’ reluctance to buy EVs. Based on the government’s estimates, 2.8 million public chargers will be needed by 2032, but only 170,000 public chargers exist today. That means 800 new chargers would have to be built every single day for the next nine years. Clearly, this isn’t in the realm of possibility.
  • EVs represented just 8% of vehicles sold in 2023. The proposed regulations would require that 60% of vehicles sold in 2030 be battery electric and two out of every three by 2032. EV sales aren’t remotely on trend to meet those requirements. Indeed, the day supply of EVs on dealer lots today is nearly twice the supply of conventional vehicles.

“It is uncontestable that the combination of fewer tax incentives, a woefully inadequate charging infrastructure and insufficient consumer demand makes the proposed [EV] mandate completely unrealistic,” the letter states. “Mr. President, we share your belief in an [EV] future. We only ask that you not accelerate into that future before the road is ready.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.