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EPA Wants to Accelerate U.S. Sales of Electric Vehicles, Boosting Air Quality
  • Posted April 12, 2023

EPA Wants to Accelerate U.S. Sales of Electric Vehicles, Boosting Air Quality

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to put the pedal to the metal in America's transition to clean electric vehicles.

The EPA today announced proposed federal emissions standards aimed at accelerating the move to electric cars and trucks.

Once adopted, the standards are expected to create a massive improvement in air pollution across the nation, particularly in smog-choked cities like Los Angeles.

The proposals would ward off nearly 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions -- the equivalent of more than twice the total U.S. CO2 emissions in 2022, the EPA announced in a news release.

Air pollution from fossil fuel burning contributed to nearly 9 million deaths worldwide in 2018, or about 1 in 5 deaths globally, according to a 2021 study in the journal Environmental Research.

Research has also linked air pollution from vehicle emissions to serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma, pneumonia and COPD, according to the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. According to the EPA, the proposed standards would reduce premature deaths and hospital admissions due to respiratory and heart illnesses.

America's reliance on foreign oil would drop by approximately 20 billion barrels of oil under the new standards, the EPA added.

The stricter emissions standards build on rapid advancements and investments in clean vehicle manufacturing, including money set aside in infrastructure and manufacturing acts passed under President Joe Biden, the agency said.

The proposed standards align with commitments made by automakers and U.S. states as they plan to accelerate clean vehicle technologies in American light- and medium-duty fleets in the next 10 to 15 years, the EPA said.

Companies have committed more than $120 billion in electric vehicle and battery development and manufacturing since Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law last year, the EPA said.

"These ambitious standards are readily achievable thanks to President Biden's Investing in America agenda, which is already driving historic progress to build more American-made electric cars and secure America's global competitiveness,"EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in the release.

Under the Biden administration, electric vehicle sales have tripled while the number of available models has doubled, the EPA said. There are more than 130,000 public chargers across the country, a 40% increase over 2020.

The EPA released two different sets of proposals aimed at vehicles built for model years 2027 and later.

The first set of proposed standards is aimed at light- and medium-duty vehicles.

Between 2027 and 2055, these car and truck standards are expected to avoid 7.3 billion tons of CO2 emissions, the EPA estimates -- equivalent to eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions from the entire current U.S. transportation sector for four years.

For gas-burning vehicles, the standards are expected to drive widespread use of filters to reduce gasoline particulate matter emissions and spur greater deployment of CO2-reducing technologies for gasoline-powered vehicles, the EPA said.

But the proposed standards are also expected to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, which could account for 67% of new light-duty vehicle sales and 46% of new medium-duty vehicle sales by model year 2032, the EPA projects.

The second set of proposed standards would apply to heavy-duty vehicles like freightliners, delivery trucks, garbage haulers, public utility trucks, and buses for transit, shuttle and schools.

The heavy-duty proposal is projected to avoid 1.8 billion tons of CO2 through 2055, equivalent to eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions from the entire current U.S. transportation sector for a year, the EPA says.

More information

Harvard Medical School and the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences have more about the health effects of air pollution.

SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, news release, April 12, 2023

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