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White House threatens to veto anti-EV bill just passed by US House

By admin Dec8,2023

L. Toshio Kishiyama/Getty Images

The White House’s plan to boost electric vehicle adoption came under heavy fire in Congress on Wednesday. Five Democratic Representatives joined the Republican majority to pass a bill that would prohibit the US Environmental Protection Agency from enacting stricter new corporate average fuel efficiency regulations that would require automakers to sell many more EVs by the year 2032.

Its passage in the House follows a letter-writing campaign by some US auto dealers to get the White House to abandon its climate targets as the dealers say they find it too difficult to sell electric vehicles.

As Ars detailed at the time, the tougher new regulations will require automakers to sell four times as many zero-emission vehicles to meet the new fleet averages. If the rules go into effect, two-thirds of all new passenger cars and light trucks would have to be EVs by 2032.

But burning fewer hydrocarbons has become anathema to the modern Republican Party, and former President Donald Trump’s administration focused some of its attention on undermining the EPA’s ability to regulate tailpipe emissions or cut gasoline dependence. Armed with a slim majority in the House of Representatives, Republicans are continuing that work.

HR 4468, also known as the Choice in Automobile Retail Sales Act 2023, passed the US House 221 votes to 197. A pair of Texas Democrats (Henry Cuellar and Vicente Gonzales), as well as Jared Golden (D-Maine), Donald Davis (D-N.C.), and Mary Peltola (D-Alaska) all voted with the Republican Party.

The bill’s language is rather short and to the point. It says the EPA cannot “finalize, implement, or enforce” new vehicle pollution regulations that are meant to go into effect in 2027.

The bill also says the EPA regulations cannot “mandate the use of any specific technology” or “result in limited availability of new motor vehicles based on the type of new motor vehicle engine in such new motor vehicles.”

The White House strongly condemned the legislation, which it says would “catastrophically impair” the EPA’s ability to regulate vehicle pollution, and President Joe Biden has threatened to veto the bill should it pass the Senate and be sent to his desk.

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