EPA tailpipe rule an abuse of power, consumer freedom

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released its final rule on vehicle tailpipe emissions, which mirrors the proposed rule on the expected percentage of electric vehicles by 2032. CEI energy policy experts oppose the rule due to its adverse impact on consumer freedom and vehicle affordability, as well as its abuse of government power and flouting of a major Supreme Court ruling.

Daren Bakst, Director of CEI’s Center on Energy and Environment:

“This is one of the most extreme rules ever finalized by a federal agency. The EPA’s rule would restrict the ability of Americans to buy gas-powered vehicles, a chilling abuse of power and a wanton disregard for individual freedom. Unhinged from reality, the EPA is ignoring the fact that consumers don’t want to buy electric vehicles at the level the Biden administration envisions.

“The EPA’s own estimated impact of the final rule is that by 2032, 56 percent of new light-duty vehicles sold will be battery electric vehicles and 13 percent will be plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Less than 30 percent will be internal combustion engine vehicles, as defined by the EPA. Unless this rule is repealed or struck down by a court, Americans should expect traveling by car to get a lot more expensive and a lot less reliable. Even worse, if this rule survives, Americans should expect the federal government and the EPA to feel even more empowered to attack individual freedom in the name of political causes.”

Marlo Lewis, Senior Fellow:

“The EPA is waging war on vehicle affordability and choice. As has oft been said, truth is the first casualty in war. When the EPA proposed this rule in May 2023, it stated that, unlike California’s zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales mandate, ‘the GHG program in this proposal is performance-based and not a ZEV mandate.’ In fact, like the California program, the EPA program compels automakers to manufacture and sell increasing percentages of ZEVs, only at a somewhat slower pace. It is a de facto ZEV mandate.

“Consider that even if, say, Toyota scrapped all its vehicles and just manufactured its best-in-class Prius, the company’s fleet average tailpipe CO2 emissions rating would still be more than double the EPA’s 2032 standard. Why? Toyota’s most fuel-efficient Prius hybrid gets 57 miles to the gallon (mpg) and emits 155 grams of carbon dioxide per mile (CO2/mi), according to fueleconomy.gov. The EPA’s model year (MY) 2032 fleet-average target is 73 grams CO2/mi. Clearly, automakers cannot comply with the EPA’s ‘performance-based’ GHG program without rapidly phasing out internal combustion engine vehicle sales and rapidly ramping up electric vehicle sales.

“Another big problem with the EPA rule is that it flagrantly flouts the Supreme Court’s ruling in West Virginia v. EPA (2022), which vacated the agency’s so-called Clean Power Plan. Whether gasoline- and diesel-powered cars should be banned is a major question of national policy. Whether the EPA should wield the powers of an industrial policy czar for the automotive sector is also a major question of national policy. No provision of any statute expressly authorizes the EPA to ban internal combustion engine vehicle sales or restructure the automotive sector. The EPA’s rule is egregiously unlawful and merits prompt review by the Supreme Court.”