GM Wants to Help Shape the EPA’s Next Clean Car Standard

GM wants to sell exclusively electric vehicles by 2035 and is now trying to push the US government towards the same goal. The automaker has worked with an advocacy group, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), to develop recommended principles for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions standards from the 2027 model year. way — and, of course, help GM’s profits.

The brand wants standards that ensure that at least half of new vehicles sold are zero-emissions by 2030, with a 60 percent reduction in emissions across the range compared to 2021. They must tackle multiple sources of pollution (such as CO2, nitrogen oxides and particulates) and are “performance-based,” GM states. The company also believes there should be an optional avenue to accelerate the launch of groundbreaking emissions-reducing technology, and standards should ensure that the benefits of reduced pollution extend to all (such as vulnerable communities). Not surprisingly, GM hopes for tight coordination between the public and private domains, including additional investments.

GM and the EDF want a quick decision-making process. They want the standards to be proposed this fall and completed by fall 2023. The standards should last at least until 2032, the partners said, but they also hoped the EPA would extend that to 2035.

There may not be much resistance to the basic concept. President Biden already wants half of all new vehicles to be zero-emissions by 2030, and the EPA reversed its rollback of Trump-era standards in December. Meanwhile, California, Massachusetts and New York State expect to ban sales of new gas-powered cars by 2035 and regularly push for stricter standards than the federal government. The principles and resulting EPA standards would theoretically help politicians achieve these goals sooner by encouraging manufacturers to electrify their fleets quickly.

Whether GM and the EDF will get their way is not clear. The EPA is not guaranteed to take the principles to heart, and a change of presidents could lead to weaker regulations. We would add that GM has changed its stance on emissions reductions depending on who is in office. The company supported the Trump administration’s efforts to revoke waivers, which allowed California to impose tougher requirements, only to change its tone after Biden won the 2020 election. Still, we don’t expect GM to back down anytime soon. The company has set its future on EVs and it could benefit if the market shifts a little earlier to eco-friendly vehicles.

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