US President Biden under pressure to phase out ICE
Two Californian senators, Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein, both Democrats, are putting pressure on President Joe Biden (also Democrat) to enforce a fixed phase-out date for cars with combustion engines nationwide. By doing this, he would be following California’s example.
Press agency Reuters obtained a letter where both senators call on the US president to “follow California’s lead and set a date by which all new cars sold will be zero-emission vehicles”.
This should be a part of the January amendment to fuel efficiency standards previously softened by the Trump administration. They also call on Biden to restore California’s special right to set its own clean car standards, previously questioned by the same Trump administration.
Concrete phase-out date
The first demand is that a concrete phase-out date should be set to sell internal combustion (ICE) cars. In September last year, Californian Governor Gavin Newsom (Democrat) issued a decree that only zero-emission cars may be sold in the state from 2035.
By 2045, every new commercial vehicle there has to be electric too. During his election campaign, Biden refused to fix an actual date but promised to expand support for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure massively.
In the letter to Biden, the two Senators also said that California should regain its special right to set stricter environmental standards. Under the Trump administration, there was a lot of bickering with the US state about these standards.
Following the former president’s official announcement in 2019 that he would strip California of the right to set its own environmental standards for cars, California took the matter to court.
But also 22 other states joined the suit. Meanwhile, the stricter regulations of California have been adopted by a whole series of states. No wonder that the dispute became a major political issue, where also car manufacturers chose a side.
Tighten fuel standards
Biden also wants to tighten the fuel standards that Trump softened. In August 2012, under Barack Obama, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a joint final rulemaking for model years (MY) 2017 to 2025.
They adopted a fleet target of 4,32 liters per 100 kilometers, which carmakers can probably only achieve with high electric and hybrid shares in the fleet.
Instead of a five percent efficiency increase per year from 2021 to 2026, the Trump administration prescribed only 1,5 percent. This corresponds to a consumption of 5,88 liters per 100 kilometers. Biden now wants to revise the fuel standards again by July.
After the two senators urged Joe Biden with their letter, the world’s number one car manufacturer, Toyota, decided to fight back at the U.S. Senate.
According to news agency Reuters again, an executive from the Japanese carmaker will try to convince the senators of the “tremendous challenges” that would be in the way toward zero emissions. We’ll pay attention to Toyota’s viewpoint in a separate article.