House backs GOP bill to block EPA rule on tailpipe pollution

  • Comments
  • Print

U.S. House Republicans approved a bill Wednesday to block strict new tailpipe pollution limits proposed by the Biden administration, calling the plan a back-door mandate for electric vehicles.

A rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency would require that up to two-thirds of new vehicles sold in the U.S. are electric by 2032, a nearly tenfold increase over current EV sales. The proposed regulation, announced in April, would set tailpipe emissions limits for the 2027 through 2032 model years that are the strictest ever imposed—and call for far more new EV sales than the auto industry agreed to less than two years ago.

The EPA says it is not imposing an EV mandate, but Republicans say the plan favors EVs and punishes gas engines, forcing Americans into cars and trucks they can’t afford.

“Americans should have the right to decide what products and appliances work best for their family, not the federal government,” said Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., the bill’s chief sponsor.

The proposed EPA regulation would drive up costs for motorists “and hand the keys of America’s auto industry to China,” Walberg said, referring to that country’s dominance over the EV battery supply chain.

The measure was approved 221-197 and now goes to the Senate, where it is unlikely to advance. Five Democrats — Reps. Henry Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez of Texas; Don Davis of North Carolina; Jared Golden of Maine; and Mary Peltola of Alaska — voted with Republicans to block the EPA rule.

New EVs typically cost more than gas-powered cars, although prices have declined in recent months as supplies have increased and tax credits for EV purchases approved in the 2022 climate law have taken effect. EVs also have lower operating costs because they don’t require gasoline.

The average transaction price for EVs was $53,469 in July, compared with $48,334 for gas-powered cars, according to Kelley Blue Book, an automotive research company. Tesla contributed to a substantial drop in EV prices since late last year as it cut prices, the research company said.

The White House strongly opposes the GOP bill and said in a statement that President Joe Biden would veto the measure if it reaches his desk.

The bill would “catastrophically impair EPA’s ability to issue automotive regulations that protect public health, save consumers money, strengthen American energy security and protect American investments in the vehicle technologies of the future,” the White House said in a statement.

EPA’s proposed standards for passenger cars and light trucks are performance-based, the White House said, and allow vehicle manufacturers to choose the mix of technologies best suited for their customers.

More than 100 EV models are now available in the U.S. alongside hybrid and gas-powered options, “giving Americans unprecedented flexibility in where and how they choose to fuel,” the White House said. The EPA proposal could save Americans thousands of dollars over a vehicle’s lifetime by accelerating adoption of technologies that reduce fuel and maintenance costs along with pollution, the White House said.

The GOP bill “would undermine all of these benefits, harming American consumers, companies and workers,” the White House said.

Republicans said the EPA rule would reduce choices for car owners, “shipping our auto-future and jobs to China” in the process.

“President Biden’s rush to green agenda is failing,” Rodgers said. “He wants us all driving EVs—100% battery electric, not plug-in, not hybrid. We don’t agree.”

New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone, the top Democrat on the energy panel, said the GOP bill would stifle innovation and cause uncertainty for American automakers. The bill includes “vague language” that could prevent EPA from ever finalizing vehicle standards for any type of motor vehicle, Pallone said.

Instead of working with Democrats on legislation to lower costs for consumers or protect public health, “the Republican majority is, once again, bringing an anti-clean vehicle bill to the floor as part of their polluters over people agenda,” Pallone said during floor debate.

“This bill would simply prevent the EPA from doing its job,” Pallone said, accusing House Republicans of “trying to legislate away years of innovation in clean transportation.”

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

2 thoughts on “House backs GOP bill to block EPA rule on tailpipe pollution

  1. “Americans should have the right to decide what products and appliances work best for their family, not the federal government,” said Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., the bill’s chief sponsor.

    By Gum, I think the Republicans are on to something here… I’m going to strip out the Catalytic Converter, headlights, brakelights, tail lights, turn signals and seat belts from my car, because they are not the products that work best for me and my family. I’ll install another really useful appliance, “semi-automatic” weapons, in the front and back quarter panels, so I can deter other drivers from getting too close. And then I’m going to install a really cool appliance, one of Purdue’s miniature nuclear power plants, in my backyard, right next to the coal burning, no filters on the smoke stack, electrical generator…my family deserves to be energy independent no matter what comes and those are the appliances and products I think are best for me and my family. Next will be the shooting range in the side yard, so I can practice my marksmanship in case some liberal comes for my guns. And really bright flood lights pointed out from my house, so I can blind any would be trespasser, and give me a clear view for shooting in self defense at the folks walking their dogs that stray onto my yard. After all, aren’t the Republicans saying that’s all that’s important…my desires, my wishes, whatever works best for me?

  2. “New EVs typically cost more than gas-powered cars” – yeahhh for now. Give it 5 years and the costs are going to reverse. Battery technology is far out pacing ICE. Numerous smaller EVs are planned to hit the market. The market is moving towards EV regardless of Fed policy and dealerships not wanting to sell them. I’ll buy my next daily driver online anyways.

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In