House subcommittee questions EPA’s proposed emission standards

May 18, 2023

Tyson Fisher


A U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee questioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed new emission standards, leaving questions of whether the new rules will stay in place.

On Wednesday, May 17, the subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy and Regulatory Affairs held a hearing regarding the EPA’s recently proposed emission standards. The proposal for heavy trucks would require a quarter of new heavy trucks sold in the U.S. to be all-electric by 2032. That number goes up to 67% for passenger vehicles.

During the hearing, committee Republicans cast doubt on the emission standards. Specifically, they do not believe the EPA has the authority to make such rules. Chairman Pat Fallon, R-Texas, pointed out that the executive branch carries out laws but it does not create them. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., was more candid in his approach.

“What in the hell does this government think it has the right, where does it get the right to ban gas stoves, gas vehicles, certain types of clothing?” Perry asked the witness panel. “Who are these people?”

In his testimony, Steve Bradbury, distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation, pointed out several problems with the EPA’s proposed emission standards.

Bradbury explained that only the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has the authority to establish fuel economy standards for new motor vehicles offered for sale to private buyers.

Other issues Bradbury brought up:

  • Increasing the purchase price of all new vehicles – “All Americans will be harmed by these price increases, but the biggest losers will be lower-income Americans who cannot afford to buy an (electric vehicle) or to pay more for a gas-powered vehicle at the dealership, as well as those who live in rural areas and need to drive longer distances and for whom EVs are impractical.”
  • Destroying jobs in the U.S. auto industry – “The loss of popular new vehicle options and the significant price increases at the dealership will mean that fewer new vehicles will be purchased – almost certainly far fewer than EPA is predicting.”
  • Causing more deaths and serious injuries on America’s highways – “As new vehicle models become unaffordable or unappealing, many American families will be left driving older and older used cars, and the age of the nation’s auto fleet will rise dramatically.”
  • Worsening air quality and increasing global carbon emissions – “The minerals and components used in (electric vehicle)batteries are mostly processed or manufactured in China using power generated from coal. While the U.S. has achieved huge reductions in carbon dioxide emissions by converting coal-fired power plants to natural gas, China’s carbon emissions are growing rapidly because of its heavy reliance on coal, and EPA’s rules will only accelerate that dynamic.”

Several stakeholders have pushed back on the proposed emission standards while most Americans remain hesitant to purchase an electric vehicle.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association calls the rulemaking “hurried” and points out the lack of a national charging infrastructure.

OOIDA President Todd Spencer issued the following statement:

“The Biden-Harris EPA is continuing their regulatory blitz on small-business truckers. The latest proposal comes on the heels of a hurried nitrogen oxide emissions rulemaking finalized in December along with a California waiver mandating sales of electric trucks. Today’s announcement is a blatant attempt to force consumers into purchasing electric vehicles while a national charging infrastructure network remains absent for heavy-duty commercial trucks. Professional drivers are skeptical of (electric vehicle) costs, mileage range, battery weight and safety, charging time, and availability. It’s baffling that the EPA is pushing forward with more impractical emissions timelines without first addressing these overwhelming concerns with electric (commercial motor vehicles). The pursuit of this radical environmental agenda in conjunction with an anticipated speed limiter mandate will regulate the safest and most experienced truckers off the road.”

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, whose members include the biggest auto manufacturers in the world, is suggesting the Biden administration is moving too fast with its proposed emission standards.

In a blog post, the alliance’s president, John Bozzella, points out the new rules exceed Biden’s 50% electrification target that was announced in 2021. It also goes beyond the National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization’s target, which is also at 50%.

“Remember this: a lot has to go right for this massive – and unprecedented – change in our automotive market and industrial base to succeed, especially as 284 million light-duty vehicles across the country (that average 12 years in age) remain on the roads,” Bozzella said in a statement. “As of last year, (electric vehicles) accounted for just over 1% of all light-duty vehicles.” LL

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