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Almost All U.S. Carmakers Take EPA's Side in Court, They Want the Tougher Rules

Going green was never going to be easy for legacy automakers, but now they seem ready and eager to do it. EPA’s rules regarding emissions are on track to get tougher, and some of the biggest U.S. auto companies are on board with it, while 16 states challenge the new provisions in court.
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This is not something you would’ve expected to see in 2022, as the battle for raw materials used in batteries and semiconductor chips is intensifying. But it looks like U.S. carmakers want some clarity regarding when the change to all-electric is happening. They need a timeline, and that’s why they’re siding with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

On the other side of the aisle, we find Texas and other 15 U.S. states that challenge EPA’s plans to gradually reduce vehicle emissions by 28.3% until 2026. They took the matter to court since former President Trump’s ideas to stall modifying tailpipe exhaust gases limits have been canceled by the current Biden administration.

If you’re wondering why these 16 states chose to fight against the reduction of harmful gasses produced by internal combustion engine cars (ICE), then you’ll be happy to find out their main reasoning is biofuels. More precisely, this is about ethanol production which contributed to the rise of corn prices. Farmers are happy about it, but the positive environmental impact is too low. A change here would mean crops will have to sell at a discount soon.

Texas, Ohio, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Utah are some of the biggest corn or ethanol producers. A notable absence here is Iowa. Arizona filed its own claims against the EPA.

According to Reuters, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation is the one that sided with EPA. This organization comprises auto companies like General Motors, Hyundai, Stellantis, Toyota, and - wouldn’t you believe it – Volkswagen. They argue in favor of “regulatory stability” since their production decisions must be taken in accordance with what the laws and rules say. If things change in a very short amount of time, then the auto industry will be forced to face unpredicted challenges that may result in price hikes or failure to provide competitive products.

The 16 states and Arizona don’t want this to happen, since it would mean a change that’s going to apply also for oil producers and distributors. The more ethanol put into gas, the more people will understand that the shift to EVs is inevitable because old cars will soon face problems using this type of fuel. This would also lead to losing a lot of tax money for states, if they don’t choose to tax owners of all-electric cars like Oklahoma’s currently doing.

If the judge will decide in favor of the carmakers and the EPA, then expect to see the new emission rules apply starting from September. The 28.3% reduction will happen gradually over the next four years.

In the meantime, NHTSA's preparing its own rules regarding emissions and fines applicable to carmakers that don't respect them. Things are moving quickly!


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