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US announces stricter auto emissions standards

Photo: Justin Sullivan Getty Images via Agence France-Presse Compared to the draft regulations announced last year, these final standards give manufacturers more time and flexibility to achieve the new CO₂ emissions targets.

Lucie Aubourg – Agence France-Presse in Washington

12:47 p.m.

  • United States

The American government announced Wednesday that it had finalized new standards on polluting emissions from automobiles, described as the strictest ever adopted, and aimed at accelerating the transition to electric cars.

Compared to the draft regulations announced last year, which has since been the subject of a public consultation, these final standards however give more time and flexibility to manufacturers to achieve the new CO2 emissions targets.

In the middle of an election year, President Joe Biden needs the support of the auto industry and its employees. But he must also convince on his climate promises.

“These strictest pollution standards ever for cars reinforce America’s leadership in building the clean transportation of the future,” Michael Regan, chief executive officer, said in a statement. of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The new standards concern light and medium vehicles built from 2027 until 2032.

The administration does not set a precise quota of clean vehicles for sale, but gradually restricts the average emissions authorized per year for new vehicles produced by each manufacturer.

The threshold limit was relaxed for the first years (2027-2030), but ends in 2032 at the same level as previously envisaged.

By that date, CO2 emissions standards will represent a reduction of about 50% compared to the standards for 2026 cars, argues the EPA.

The idea was to give manufacturers “more time” to adapt initially, a senior US official told reporters.

But some environmental defenders accused the government of having given in to pressure from industry.

The new standards “require fewer emissions reductions in the first years” compared to the initial proposal, regretted the Center for Biological Diversity. “This will send carbon pollution into the atmosphere sooner, and do more damage to the climate. »

The Natural Resources Defense Council, another environmental association, estimated that the measures were going “in the right direction”.

First source of emissions

Transportation is currently the country's largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

The new standards should help avoid the emission of 7.2 billion tons of CO2 by 2055, according to the EPA. This is approximately four times the emissions of the entire transport sector in 2021.

The new regulations also affect emissions of fine particles, which are dangerous to health.

It must bring a total net benefit of 99 billion dollars per year, according to the government, including 13 billion thanks to health savings (avoided hospitalizations, etc.).

According to the EPA, these new standards should help accelerate the transition to zero-emission (electric) or low-emission (plug-in hybrid) vehicles.

Concretely, it will be up to manufacturers to choose which technologies they adopt to reduce their emissions. They could also improve the efficiency of gasoline car engines, for example.

But to the extent that many manufacturers are now well engaged in electrification, the agency is counting on an acceleration of the movement.

“Since 2021, sales of electric vehicles have quadrupled, and prices continue to fall,” argued Ali Zaidi, Joe Biden’s climate advisor. “We are moving faster and faster to confront the climate crisis,” he assured.

Since the start of Joe Biden's mandate, who has also committed to developing the network of charging stations, companies have announced more than $160 billion in investments in vehicle construction clean, according to the EPA.

According to the agency's calculations, by the 2030s, sales of electric vehicles could represent up to 56% of light vehicles (city cars, sedans, SUVs, pick-ups, etc.). ).

That's less than the 67% envisioned last year, with the EPA now identifying more growth for plug-in hybrids to meet emissions targets.

In 2023, electric cars still represented only about 7.6% of vehicles sold in the United States, according to Cox Automotive.

The slope therefore remains steep for manufacturers, who welcomed the extension of deadlines decided by the EPA: it was “the right choice to make, because it gives priority to objectives more reasonable electrification options,” commented John Bozzella of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116