Automotive Industry Critiques EPA’s Emission Limits Plan, while Environmentalists Argue ‘Insufficient Measures’

**The U.S. Government’s Plan to Slash Vehicle Emissions Faces Doubt**


The U.S. government recently introduced strict emissions limits for passenger vehicles, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. However, this plan is facing skepticism, with doubts about its feasibility and effectiveness. Critics argue that the targets are unrealistic and that they should be more ambitious to have a significant impact on reducing pollution.

**Industry Skepticism**

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set emissions limits that would require 67% of new vehicle sales to be electric by 2032. The auto industry views this target as unrealistic. The new rule does not directly mandate automakers to increase electric vehicle (EV) sales, but rather sets emissions limits and allows automakers to choose how to meet them. Even if the industry were to meet the EPA’s recommended EV sales target, it would still leave around 80% of vehicles on U.S. roads running on gasoline or diesel fuel.

**Environmental Groups Demand More**

Environmental groups argue that the EPA’s plan falls short and that more needs to be done to address the urgency of climate change. They point to surging temperatures and smoke from wildfires as evidence of the immediate need for action. These groups urge the EPA to further reduce emissions and prioritize the transition to electric vehicles.

**Paris Agreement Goals**

To align with the goals of the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the proportion of new EV and plug-in hybrid vehicle sales would need to reach 67% by 2030. The EPA’s projected target falls slightly short of this, highlighting the need for more ambitious goals and faster reductions in carbon emissions.

**Calculating Emissions Reductions**

An EV researcher from the International Council on Clean Transportation emphasizes the need for significant emissions reductions to meet the Paris Agreement goals. The council calculates that carbon dioxide pollution from passenger vehicles would need to drop to 57 grams per mile by 2030, while the EPA’s preferred regulation would only achieve 102 grams per mile by 2030 and 82 grams per mile by 2032. Additionally, gas vehicle carbon emissions would need to decrease by 3.5% annually from 2027 to 2032, a reduction not accounted for in the EPA’s proposal.

**Additional Fuel Economy Standards**

The EPA’s proposed regulation does not set specific reductions for gas vehicles, but recently proposed fuel economy standards by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration could address this. However, it remains to be seen whether these standards will be implemented and if they will be enough to achieve the necessary emissions reductions.

**EPA’s Perspective**

The EPA defends its proposal, stating that it will significantly reduce pollution. The agency estimates that passenger vehicle carbon dioxide emissions will decrease by 47% by 2055, with most gas-powered vehicles phased out by then. Transportation is currently the biggest source of pollution in the United States, with passenger vehicles accounting for 58% of the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions.

**Emissions Reductions from EVs**

While doubts persist about the feasibility of meeting the EPA’s targets, studies by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) indicate that shifting to electric vehicles can lead to a 30% to 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to combustion vehicles, depending on the source of electricity. MIT professor Jessika Trancik asserts that EVs are cleaner over their lifetimes, even considering the pollution generated during the mining of battery metals. She believes that as EV sales accelerate, more people will adopt them, potentially exceeding the EPA’s predictions. EV sales are growing rapidly in other countries, and exponential growth is often observed in this sector.


While the U.S. government’s plan to reduce vehicle emissions through stricter regulations has been met with skepticism, it is evident that achieving the necessary emissions reductions will require more ambitious targets. The auto industry questions the feasibility of the proposed plan, while environmental groups demand stronger action. Meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement and transitioning to a zero-carbon transportation system by 2050 will require significant efforts and accelerated adoption of electric vehicles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

China’s Apollo Robotaxi Takes the Lead as the Busiest Self-Driving Taxi in the World

Bloomberg and Cornell Tech Present: An Interview with Martin Mignot & Shardul Shah from Index Ventures