HomeEnvironment & Climate NewsPresident Joe Biden Signs Executive Order Establishing Zero-Emissions Vehicle Targets
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President Joe Biden Signs Executive Order Establishing Zero-Emissions Vehicle Targets

By Linnea Lueken

President Joe Biden signed an executive order (EO) directing agencies with regulatory authority over passenger vehicles to set standards which will result in half of all cars sold in the United States by 2030 being zero-emissions vehicles.

Biden’s August 8 “Strengthening American Leadership in Clean Cars and Trucks” order directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) to “consider beginning work on a rulemaking” towards the zero-emissions goals of the administration.

The EPA and the DOT have already proposed stricter emissions standards to carry out Biden’s order. Under these proposed regulations, all passenger cars and light and heavy-duty vehicles will have to meet stricter emissions standards and higher fuel-economy standards starting with 2027 models.

In his signing statement, Biden said his EO is intended to boost the economy as well as help prevent a ‘the climate crisis.”

“It is the policy of my Administration to advance these objectives in order to improve our economy and public health, boost energy security, secure consumer savings, advance environmental justice, and address the climate crisis.” Biden said.

Biden indicated executive action was warranted and regulations justified because climate change is an ‘existential’ threat, and the world did not have time to wait for Congress to decide to impose zero-emissions limits on passenger cars and light trucks.

Expenses Rise for Consumers

A zero-emission vehicle mandate will cost Americans dearly, said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), minority leader on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in a statement released after Biden issued his executive order.

“As people struggle to stretch their last dollar to afford reliable transportation amid rising gasoline prices, this administration is now asserting more control over the vehicles we drive to work, take our children to school, and live our lives.” McMorris Rodgers said. “It’s unfair to people whose car is not a luxury but a necessity.

“To secure a cleaner American energy future, Democrats would be wise to work with Republicans to unleash innovation for cleaner emitting vehicles, such as [autonomous vehicles], to keep our roadways safe and vehicles affordable.” McMorris Rodgers said.

Depending on Chinese Manufacturing

Biden’s zero-emission vehicle EO is dangerous because it will make the United States more dependent on China for our transportation needs, said Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), in a statement via Twitter.

“President Biden’s Executive Order establishing an arbitrary timeline to transition to 50 percent electric vehicles by 2030 will drive up prices for cars and trucks while making us more dependent on China for production of parts and batteries for EVs.” McKinley said. “Combined with proposed emissions standards and soaring gas prices, everyone who drives will be paying much more.”

‘Pipe Dream’

Zero-emissions vehicles goals are undesirable and unrealistic, in part because of the materials required and the limited ability to dispose of those materials safely, says William Shughart II, research director at The Independent Institute and the J. Fish Smith Professor in Public Choice at Utah State University.

“Making half of our new vehicles electric by 2030 is a pipe dream for several reasons: battery technology is still evolving, it currently hinges on rare earth minerals sourced mainly from China because of mining regulations here, and spent auto batteries cannot just be dumped into standard landfills,” Shughart said.

High Costs, No Benefit

Biden’s zero-emissions vehicle mandate will increase the prices electric power ratepayers’ have to pay for electricity, limit opportunities for low-income drivers to move about, and do nothing for the environment, Shughart says.

“Installing a sufficient number of charging stations will be expensive and the poorly regulated public utilities required to provide them will be pass the costs onto utility customers, rather than those costs being borne fully by EV owners.” Shughart said. “Biden’s regulation will be shouldered disproportionately by low-income households, pricing new and used vehicles beyond their financial reach.

“Proponents of EVs seem to think EVs are produced with no carbon footprint – that they’re manufactured in 100 percent wind and solar powered factories and that 100 percent of the power used to charge EVs comes from the non-emitting power sources – but the truth is an EV is only as clean as the grid used to power it, which nowadays is pretty dirty on the East Coast and in the Mountain West.” Shughart said.

‘Environmental Catastrophe’

Combined with Biden’s push to move America to 100 percent carbon dioxide free electricity generation, the zero-emissions vehicle mandate will result in massive environmental destruction, says James Taylor, president of The Heartland Institute, which co-publishes Environment & Climate News.

“In 2019, Harvard scientists who believe in a climate crisis published a peer-reviewed article determining that we would have to cover literally one-third of the American land mass with industrial wind projects to replace current electricity generation.” Taylor said. “By those same numbers, we would have to cover an additional one-sixth of the American land mass with industrial wind projects to electrify transportation.

“If these numbers are accurate, this means meeting the Biden administration’s dreams of 100-percent “renewable” energy and the electrification of America’s transportation fleet would require destroying fully one-half of America’s open spaces, beautiful vistas, irreplaceable forests, and precious wildlife habitat,” Taylor said. “You would be very hard pressed to imagine a worse environmental catastrophe than that.”

Linnea Lueken (linnea.heartland@gmail.com) writes from Laramie, Wyoming.

IT'S BACK: The Heartland Institute's Next CAN'T MISS Climate Conference spot_img
Linnea Lueken
Linnea Luekenhttps://www.heartland.org/about-us/who-we-are/linnea-lueken
Linnea Lueken is a Research Fellow with the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy. While she was an intern with The Heartland Institute in 2018, she co-authored a policy brief 'Debunking Four Persistent Myths About Hydraulic Fracturing'.


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