Nearly 5,000 U.S. auto dealerships have issued a second appeal to President Joe Biden, urging him to reconsider the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed stricter vehicle pollution standards. This appeal comes as the EPA nears a decision on regulations aimed at reducing both climate and health-related emissions.
Despite not receiving a response to their initial November letter, these dealerships are voicing their concerns again. They’re worried about meeting the potentially strictest-ever emissions standards, which are part of a global shift toward all-electric vehicle sales. In the U.S., electric vehicle (EV) sales have been growing. They hit 1.2 million units last year. But, they still represent only a small part of the market.
The EPA’s proposed emission regulations target light- and medium-duty vehicles. The rules aim to cut emissions by 56% and reduce pollutants by 60% by 2032. The new standards could significantly lower carbon dioxide emissions by 2055.
Yet, dealerships are concerned about the feasibility of these targets, citing the slow adoption rate of EVs and the current market’s preference for traditional vehicles. The dealers also highlight restrictive EV tax credit rules, which they believe hinder EV sales.
The letter reads, in part:
“On behalf of our customers, we ask that you pause on the electric vehicle mandate. Wait for the battery supply chain to develop outside the control of China. Wait for the charging infrastructure to support a significant increase in electric vehicles. And wait for the American consumer to make the choice to buy an electric vehicle, confident that they are affordable and won’t strand them because of a lack of charging stations.
Mr. President, we share your belief in an electric vehicle future. We only ask that you not accelerate into that future before the road is ready.”
Collectively, the dealers refer to themselves as the “EV Voice of the Customer,” which emphasizes the gap between policy and consumer readiness for EVs. They’re asking President Biden to “hit the brakes” on the proposed regulations and question the practicality of this fast switch to EVs.
The EPA’s proposal is still under review. It doesn’t require specific technologies, like EVs. But, it allows for a range of solutions. These include improving the efficiency of gasoline vehicles. With the ruling expected to be finalized as early as March, the EPA has refrained from commenting further during the ongoing review process.