Biden wants greener cars and tightens standards

Cars sold in the United States will have to be fuel efficient by 2023, which should accelerate the deployment of the electric vehicle, announced the administration Biden as its plan in favor of the environment has lead in the wing after the defection of a key senator.

Automobile manufacturers will thus have to improve the energy performance of their models by 5 to 10% per year between 2023 and 2026, against 1.5% per year required in March 2020 by the Trump administration, and 5% by the Obama administration.

These new consumption standards, published Monday by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), should make it possible to tighten regulations that had been greatly relaxed under the presidency of Donald Trump.

These are “the most ambitious federal greenhouse gas emissions standards ever established for passenger cars and pick-ups,” the agency said in a statement.

Joe Biden, who likes to present himself as “a guy who loves cars”, promised stricter consumption standards last August.

He had then displayed great ambitions to green the American automotive industry, lagging behind its foreign competitors, and relied in particular, to achieve this, on investments planned as part of its gigantic environmental and social reforms.

However, the “Build Back Better” plan and its 1.750 billion dollars in spending seemed doomed to failure on Monday the day after the announcement of the refusal of a key Democratic senator, the very moderate Joe Manchin, to support it.

– Electric cars –

Pending a more ambitious plan, the EPA requires that cars -SUV and pick-up included- be able by mid-2026 to cover, at continuous speed, 88.5 kilometers (55 miles) on one gallon of fuel. (nearly 4 liters), compared to 69 km per gallon forecast by the Trump administration.

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The former Republican president had indeed largely relaxed the regulations planned by the Obama administration, which provided 80.5 km per gallon by mid-2025.

In real traffic conditions, this represents, for these new regulations, 64.5 km per gallon, against 51.5 km forecast by the Trump administration and 58 km for the Obama administration.

However, this is an average, some vehicles will consume more, others less.

To achieve this, car manufacturers will have to improve the technical performance of their models but also manufacture more electric cars.

“By mid-2026, the EPA predicts that final standards can be met with around 17% of electric vehicles sold and wider adoption of advanced gasoline engine technologies available today,” the agency said. in a press release.

Electric cars now represent between 2% and 4% of total automobile sales in the United States, according to the sources.

Joe Biden had already signed an executive order providing that by 2030, half of the cars sold in the United States will be emission-free – electric, plug-in hybrids or hydrogen.

– Government support –

This new regulation requires “a substantial increase in sales of electric vehicles”, said in a statement John Bozzella, CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which brings together American and foreign manufacturers representing nearly all cars sold to United States.

According to him, achieving the planned objectives “will undoubtedly require the adoption of supportive government policies”, he added.

He referred to “incentives for consumers, substantial growth in infrastructure, fleet requirements and support for manufacturing and supply chain development in the United States”.

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The EPA further estimates that with these new fuel standards, “US drivers will save between $ 210 billion and $ 420 billion by 2050 on fuel costs.”

Among the objectives put forward are “reducing climate pollution, improving public health and saving money at the pump for drivers,” he said.

But for the association of scientists Union of Concerned Scientists, it is essential to be more ambitious: “the new standards go a long way to repairing the damage caused by the previous administration, but, to stem the climate catastrophe, we must redouble ‘ambition and demand even more “.

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