Home » The Biden EPA Is Now Reportedly Thinking About Slowing Down EV Rollout

The Biden EPA Is Now Reportedly Thinking About Slowing Down EV Rollout

C8 Joe Biden
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The Biden administration has been under pressure from automakers, oil companies, and even auto unions to slow down its planned emissions rules, thus slowing down the transition to electric cars. According to new reports, the Environmental Protection Agency is considering giving in to that pressure.

Joining the American government in potentially walking back its plans, the Italian government is admitting it isn’t going to be buying Stellantis anytime soon. And on the topic of not buying anything anytime soon, people don’t seem to be buying Fisker’s stock and now the company is being warned by the New York Stock Exchange.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

And, finally, let’s chat about used car values, which have been going down.

The EPA: Well…

President Biden Gmc Hummer Ev 001
Source: GM

Remember last week when we showed you those ads that petroleum companies were running to get President Biden to back down on his administration’s plan to force a dramatic shift toward vehicle electrification in the coming months? At the very least, this administration is considering it.

From The Washington Post this weekend:

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The Environmental Protection Agency is considering relaxing one of its most significant climate change rules — tailpipe emissions limits for cars and trucks — by giving automakers more time to boost sales of electric vehicles, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Rather than mandating a rapid increase in electric vehicle (EV) sales in the coming years, the agency could delay these requirements until after 2030, the two people said. The individuals spoke on the condition of anonymity because no final decision has been made; the rule will not be finalized until March at the earliest

The reasons for this are many, including:

Pick any of the above. I don’t think the petroleum lobby is what won over the Biden administration, nor do I think it was dealers complaining, or even automakers complaining. But you can only fight a war on so many fronts and for people who care about the environment, it’s been a great 3.5 years, and really what are the options? The Republican Party’s standard bearer has made it clear he isn’t going to enforce any of this.

Plus, this was always how it was going to probably go down. As we wrote when the rules were first announced:

Environmental advocates will say the world can’t wait and that transportation emissions—our largest pollution source in the U.S.—have to be brought down before we cook ourselves into a Hell-on-earth situation. The scientific consensus says they aren’t wrong.

But that’s about to run up against the cold, hard logistics of transforming a century of gasoline vehicle infrastructure—in a country that came up alongside the car—into an electric one. It’s crazy to think that can be done in about a decade; it’s moon landing stuff.

Yup. Politics is the art of the possible, so you shoot for the stars and be happy if you land on, like, the roof or whatever. And this isn’t necessarily what’s going to happen, but just listen to the EPA spokesperson from the same WaPo article:

EPA spokesman Timothy Carroll declined to comment on the specifics of the rule while it is under interagency review. But in general, Carroll said in an email, “EPA is committed to finalizing a technology standard that is readily achievable, secures reductions in dangerous air and climate pollution and ensures economic benefits for families.”

Strong emphasis on “readily achievable” there.

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EVs for some and miniature American flags for others.

Italy: Whoa, Whoa, Whoa… We Aren’t Buying Stellantis, What Would Give You That Idea?

Lovitz Tavares
Source: SNL

Wow, Carlos Tavares (pictured) must be having a great President’s Day. He’s gonna buy, like, six mattresses. After a few weeks of back-and-forth with the Italian government, Tavares has seemingly won the day with the Italian government backing off of the idea of investing in Stellantis.

Per Reuters:

The Italian government buying a stake in Fiat-parent Stellantis (STLAM.MI), is not on the cards, but could be if the automaker requested it, industry minister Adolfo Urso said on Friday.

Urso raised the prospect of Rome buying shares in Stellantis on Feb. 1 amid a spat over the company’s commitment to Italy, but since then both parties have made conciliatory remarks to ease tensions.”

Today (…) it is obvious that this is off the agenda,” the minister said in an interview with RAI public radio.

It was always clear that this was a farcical suggestion given that the Italian government can afford shares in Stellantis in the same way I can afford a Ferrari 296 GT3. Italy is just mad that it doesn’t have a stake like the French government does.

Ultimately, Italy wanted to make the point that it didn’t want to be ignored and badly needed to keep Stellantis plants in the country running. Point made. You could perhaps cast this as a victory for the new Italian government, but in the end, this charade showed how much more leverage Tavares has. It’ll be interesting to see what else Stellantis gets out of it.

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NYSE: Get Your Act Together Fisker

Fisker Alaska Concept 2023 1600 02Erstwhile American electric company Fisker hasn’t had the best go of it lately, and the markets have noticed. In particular, the NYSE, where Fisker listed via a SPAC in 2020, has noticed.

Here’s what’s going on, via Fisker:

Fisker Inc. (NYSE: FSR) (“Fisker” or the “Company”), driven by a mission to create the world’s most emotional and sustainable electric vehicles, announced that on February 15, 2024, it received notice from the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) that it is not in compliance with Section 802.01C of the NYSE Listed Company Manual because the average closing price of the Company’s common stock was less than $1.00 per share over a consecutive 30 trading-day period.

The NYSE notice does not result in the immediate delisting of the Company’s common stock from the NYSE.

In accordance with applicable NYSE rules, the Company intends to notify the NYSE within 10 business days of its intent to regain compliance with Rule 802.01C and return to compliance with the applicable NYSE continued listing standards.

The Company can regain compliance at any time within a six-month cure period following its receipt of the NYSE notice if, on the last trading day of any calendar month during such cure period, the Company has both: (i) a closing share price of at least $1.00 and (ii) an average closing share price of at least $1.00 over the 30 trading-day period ending on the last trading day of the applicable calendar month.

Fisker was at about $0.73 this morning, so it’s not a completely insurmountable distance. It’s unclear what Fisker is going to do about it, but options include a reverse stock-split, wherein the company essentially reduces the number of outstanding shares thus boosting the price.

Cox: Used Cars Are Affordable-er

Mirai Ohio CarfaxIt makes sense that, if new cars are more affordable, then used cars will also become more affordable. Unfortunately, like new cars, we’re also grading on a bit of scale as Cox Automotive explains in their used car roundup:

The average used-vehicle listing price was $25,328, down from a revised $26,505 at the start of January, down 4% from a year earlier. Though used-vehicle prices are lower now versus 2022 and 2023, they remain much higher than in 2019.

All of this is about as expected, but there’s an interesting twist that Cox is pointing out here:

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“EV talk is everywhere, and now even in the used-vehicle days’ supply discussion,” said Jeremy Robb, senior director of Economic and Industry Insights at Cox Automotive. “Used EV sales increased enough in January to help drive days’ supply lower.”

Used EVs you say

I say everyone in America should have a used Chevy Bolt as a second car, but that’s just me.

What I’m Listening To This Morning

“Lump” by The Presidents of the United States of America. Can you imagine the stones it takes to be a Seattle band in the ’90s and sound this happy?

The Big Question

What’s the best President’s Day sale you’ve seen this weekend? It doesn’t have to be a car.

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BobWellington
BobWellington
1 month ago

The only real solution is getting people out of cars for their everyday errands and commutes. But it seems like most of the country just wants to continue reliance on cars for every little trip…

21CenturySchizoidMan
21CenturySchizoidMan
1 month ago

Lump is a great song! And clicking on the YouTube link led me to the Weird Al cover which is almost as good! So 90’s!

Eric Smith
Eric Smith
1 month ago

The charging infrastructure in this country sucks.

EVs are still too expensive.

Both parts unfortunately true.

I missed my window when car shopping on the C-Max PHEV as I was shopping right prior to COVID and once it hit changed all financial plans for the foreseeable future (and then for the next 2 years the price of a decent used one literally doubled).

I wanted that one for solely for the 30ish mile EV range (2nd gen Volt was also on my list).

I don’t need a 1000mile/charge EV. I need a 30-40mile/charge EV. And I’m not alone.

My next road trip will be in a rental anyway because my present shitbox gets shit mileage and the savings of renting a more efficient (not to mention nicer) ICE vehicle per-day works out to more or less pay for itself in fuel cost savings. If I could buy a cheap(ish) city-range EV and then rent an ICE for roadtrips I’d save money long-term and be happy adding to my electric stuff (working towards pretty much off-grid w/in 10 years).

When I buy next car I don’t need anything with great range. 99% of my driving is urban and can rely on at-home or at-work charging. I rarely drive more than 30 miles in any day (usually maybe 6 miles if that). But, I can’t buy an EV where I’m not paying for 5-10x the battery I actually need plus all the additional bits and engineering that went into that. There’s a lot of city-dwellers in my exact same spot.

Sell me a damn 3rd gen Volt minus the range extender and let me save the money on the hybrid bits and the extra battery I (and a TON of people like me) don’t need.

Last edited 1 month ago by Eric Smith
Haranguatank
Haranguatank
1 month ago

The EPA’s tightening of tailpipe emissions was kind of a big middle finger to the auto industry as a whole… many OEMs are working diligently to advance the EV technology and investing eye watering sums in R&D. Then the EPA comes along and says on top of what they’re already doing, they also need to develop brand new ICE powertrains with upgraded emissions systems that will only be sellable for <5 years. If the goal is an EV transition, the stricter emissions regs are completely counterproductive.
EVs have a handful of issues that make them a poor proposition for a big chunk of the US populace and adoption rates are slowing as a result. The Biden EPA’s reaction is to put their finger on the scales to make ICE less marketable and more expensive so that EVs don’t look so bad by comparison.
The automakers stared the EPA down on this one, and it looks like the EPA is going to blink.

Drew
Drew
1 month ago
Reply to  Haranguatank

Then the EPA comes along and says on top of what they’re already doing, they also need to develop brand new ICE powertrains with upgraded emissions systems that will only be sellable for <5 years.

I think you might misunderstand the way the tailpipe emissions restrictions. It’s not a separate standard for ICE vehicles, but a full fleet emissions standard. Vehicles without tailpipes count toward the goal. The expectation was that hybrids and EVs would start to become a larger percentage of the fleet, lowering the tailpipe emissions. What has happened here is not that they told manufacturers to come up with new ICE powertrains and they fought it. Instead, it was that there was an expectation of faster EV adoption that was not met.

Haranguatank
Haranguatank
1 month ago
Reply to  Drew

I think that the article and the news media in general is oversimplifying things by referring to “tailpipe emissions” being walked back. The EPA rolled out a proposal in April of last year that would crack down significantly on PM2.5 and NOx emissions on light and medium duty vehicles starting from MY27 and becoming more strict every year up to MY32. There’s a link in the article where the Autopian covered the announcement last year. Here’s the nitty gritty from the EPA themselves:

https://www.epa.gov/system/files/documents/2023-04/420f23009.pdf

This goes beyond the standards set in 2021, and is what I am referring to. This proposal specifically is what is being walked back/delayed/reconsidered. The reason it’s being walked back is multi-faceted (as the author points out), but it’s a big win for OEMs because the proposal would have required a serious redistribution of money and manpower resources away from EV development.

Drew
Drew
1 month ago
Reply to  Haranguatank

That’s still calculations of fleet averages. And the link you posted included a section about how they projected manufacturers might get there by reaching 70% BEV light duty and 40% BEV medium duty.

Haranguatank
Haranguatank
1 month ago
Reply to  Drew

So the EPA made a rule about fleet emissions in 2021, setting an aggressive target. Then EV adoption rates slowed, so the EPA lowered the target even more (finger on scale) and said OEMs have to meet this new target and you only have 4 years to do it.

I think this is where we’re losing each other: Do you really think we as a country are going to go from 10% to 70% EV adoption in 4 years? Yea, the automakers don’t think so either. Therefore, in order to maintain regulatory compliance, OEMs must develop ICE powertrains that can meet the new target, diverting resources away from EV product development. Their only other option is to plead their case to the EPA and hope that they walk back/delay/reconsider the new proposed target. Looks like the latter is happening. I’m simply pointing out that it’s a win for the industry and for those whose circumstances make EVs a nonstarter.

Drew
Drew
1 month ago
Reply to  Haranguatank

With how you worded the bits earlier about the EPA forcing the auto industry to allocate resources to new ICE powertrains while investing heavily into EVs, I thought you were just misunderstanding the “tailpipe emissions” to apply only to things with tailpipes. At no point did I intend to take a position on the feasibility of moving to electric as quickly as projected. So I think we’ve mostly been talking past each other. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

As far as I’m concerned, we should have been pushing hybrid adoption years ago, and we should have been a lot more careful in carving out exemptions for commercial vehicles. That would have pushed automakers into higher efficiency vehicles sooner. As it stands, I suspect the EPA intentionally set an unrealistic goal this time to force a compromise that actually moves us toward lowering passenger vehicle emissions.

I can see the rock and the hard place: we need to reduce global emissions, and no one’s going to go after the very wealthy or reduce corporate profits, so it’s going to be very hard on us regular folks.

Last edited 1 month ago by Drew
Dangerous_Daveo
Dangerous_Daveo
1 month ago

Two things..

PUSA were the first band I saw live. Good times.

Second, all these emissions things were almost always going to be walked back, but I think the dates picked were intentionally optimistic. If they said 2035, they’d get walked back to 2040, if they said 2040, it would be walked back to 2045 and if they picked 2045 everyone would have agreed, because it would have been an easy target, or so far off whoever is currently saying yes will be either dead or retired. They had to push, set a date, then see what happened from there.

Mr E
Mr E
1 month ago

If this is a car site and you’re talking about POTUSA, how can you forget my favorite song of theirs, “Mach 5?”

Jeeptopian
Jeeptopian
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr E

Or the one about a little dune buggy!

Chewcudda
Chewcudda
1 month ago

To this day, a President’s Day sale on mattresses reminds me of Bill Clinton’s hijinks.

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