On April 12, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced an aggressive proposal that would further limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from light-duty and medium-duty vehicles (primarily passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks). The proposed rule would begin with model year 2027 and add to EPA’s already announced final emission standards for passenger cars and light trucks starting for model years 2023 through 2026.
The rule, if finalized, would force automakers to electrify their fleets between now and 2032, leading to electric vehicles (EVs) accounting for two-thirds of vehicle sales by 2032.
Proposed Rule Based on Section 202(a) of Clean Air Act
EPA’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), announced on April 12, 2023, proposes new standards that would apply to vehicle model years 2027-2032. The NPRM offers hundreds of pages to support the new standards.
Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act requires EPA to establish standards for emissions of air pollutants from new vehicles that, in the EPA’s judgment, cause or contribute to air pollution that is anticipated to endanger public health or welfare. The law requires that EPA, when establishing or revising Section 202(a) emissions standards, consider technological feasibility, compliance cost, and lead time. EPA also may consider other factors, including effects of the standards on the auto industry, consumer costs, energy conservation, and safety.
EPA’s supporting documents on the rulemaking can be viewed here.
Concerned Small Business Owners Can Get Involved in the Rulemaking
EPA will be holding a public hearing on May 9-10, 2023. Pre-registration is open at this time and individuals can register by emailing [email protected].
More information on the hearing can be found in the Federal Register notice for the hearing.
Legal Challenges Likely
EPA’s proposal would completely transform the auto industry and will face legal challenges. Lawsuits over early EPA GHG rules have successfully restricted both the scope of federal and state government authority to regulate GHG emissions. More importantly, anticipated legal challenges will likely call into question the authority of federal executive agencies to force extreme changes to the country’s basic transportation program without a clear statement of authority from Congress to do so.
NFIB has been active in fighting federal and state proposals aimed at forcing consumers to shoulder the costs of electric vehicles, which last year averaged about $66,000. This is a vehicle price point that is unattainable for most consumers.
Last year, the NFIB Small Business Legal Center participated in three cases at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit advocating against electric car mandates and stringent GHG emission policies like the one EPA is considering. In Ohio v. EPA, we argue that EPA was wrong to grant California a Clean Air Act waiver allowing the State to impost a de-factor electric car mandate. In Texas v. EPA, we argue that EPA does not have authority to impose its light-duty GHG tailpipe rule. Finally, in Natural Resources Defense Council v. NHTSA, NFIB asserts that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) fuel economy standards violate existing federal law. We are still awaiting a decision in each of these cases.
For further questions or to get more information, email [email protected].