Discover more from The California Energy Transition
U.S. House Passes Bill to Prevent California EV Mandate
The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from approving a waiver for auto emissions standards that would target gasoline-powered vehicles. The bill is viewed as targeting California’s goal to end the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035.
H.R. 1435 is unlikely to advance in the U.S. Senate, but the bill indicates that energy policy and electric vehicles (EVs) could be a political issue in 2024. The Biden administration has set a goal of having 50% of all new vehicle sales be EVs by 2030.
While the bill does not mention California, it prohibits the EPA from granting a waiver for state standards that “directly or indirectly limit the sale or use of new motor vehicles with internal combustion engines.” It also rescinds any federal approvals to limit the sales of gas-powered automobiles that were issued since the start of 2022.
The Clean Air Act allows California to implement auto emissions standards that are stricter than the federal standards upon a request to the EPA for a waiver and approval of that request. Other states often adopt California’s standards. Other states can then adopt California’s standards. Currently, 17 states and the District of Columbia follow the California standards, accounting for more than 40% of the U.S. automobile market. (see California’s Energy Transition from Oil State to Fossil Free: Auto Emissions.)
In May, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) requested a Clean Air Act waiver from the EPA that would phase out the sale of most gas-powered vehicles by 2035. The EPA has not made a decision on the request.
California had never been denied a waiver until 2008, when the George W. Bush administration rejected California’s request to set its own emissions standard to regulate a number of greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. The Trump administration revoked California’s waiver in 2019. In 2022, the Biden administration EPA reinstated the waiver, allowing California emissions standards to take effect.
The regulation of auto emissions are critical to California’s policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.