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New vehicle emissions standards are here, and they’re set to transform how America drives — if some big roadblocks don’t get in the way.
The U.S. EPA last week proposed what would be its most ambitious vehicle emissions standards ever — so ambitious that if they’re implemented, as many as 67% of new light-duty vehicles sold in 2032 would be electric. That’s a huge jump given that just 5.8% of cars sold last year were electric. The rules would also generate as much as $1.6 trillion in consumer savings and remove 10 billion tons of carbon emissions from the atmosphere by 2055, the White House estimates.
But that ambitious goal is going to face more than a few hurdles along the way.
For starters, there’s the U.S.’s unreliable charging network, which can deter potential EV buyers. A 2022 survey found that one in five EV drivers who had recently visited a charging station weren’t able to fill up because the system was broken. And while there’s a lot of federal and state funding going toward building a better charging network, big questions remain over whether the existing power grid can support it.
U.S. automakers are meanwhile struggling to procure materials for EV batteries, especially as federal incentives require they be sourced domestically. And then there are potential legal challenges to the tailpipe emissions rules that could dull their impact or invalidate them altogether.
The proposed rules are now open for public comment, and won’t be finalized until next year.
🚘 Another EV update: The official list of electric cars fully eligible for federal tax credits is now available here.
More clean energy news
💡 Cleantech pioneers: An annual cleantech award highlights 12 pioneering startup companies building new ways to recycle critical minerals, produce hydrogen fuel, and solve other critical challenges in the clean energy transition. (Bloomberg)
🔌 What electrifying everything looks like: An analysis envisions electric power will replace fossil fuels across much of the transportation, residential, industrial and commercial sectors by 2050. (New York Times)
🚫 A setback for gas bans: A federal appeals court overturned Berkeley, California’s ban on natural gas hookups in new construction, and legal experts warn it could have a chilling effect on municipalities considering similar bans. (Associated Press, E&E News)
🏭 New rules for coal plants: New federal rules would regulate coal plant wastewater for the first time and could hasten U.S. plant closures, though implementation delays and a loophole could weaken the plan. (Energy News Network)
⚡ Interconnection delays get longer: The typical power generation and storage project now faces a five-year wait to plug into the electric grid, researchers find. (Utility Dive)
📉 Fossil fuel lending falls: Record profits, not green goals, are likely why the world’s top banks lent significantly less money to fossil fuel companies last year than in years before, environmental groups say. (Inside Climate News)
💧 Is clean hydrogen really clean? Climate scientist Dr. Leah Stokes suggests the federal government adopt a three-part test to determine if so-called clean hydrogen plants are actually clean and deserve federal incentives. (New York Times Opinion)
- Research Associate | Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance
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- National Solar Activist Network & Policy Coordinator | Solar United Neighbors
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