Biden and carmakers to announce goal of 50 percent ‘zero emission’ cars by 2030

President Biden on Thursday will announce plans to make 50 percent of new cars “zero emission” by 2030 — coupled with sweeping new efficiency standards for cars that still use petroleum.

Biden will sign an executive order outlining the goal and carmakers will voluntarily announce their embrace of the idea, an administration official said.

“The president will sign an executive order that sets an ambitious new target to make half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 zero-emissions vehicles,” the official said.

“American automakers like Ford, GM and Stellantis and the United Auto Workers will stand with President Biden at the White House as he takes these steps and signs this executive order,” the official said.

Stellantis is the corporate entity that owns Chrysler, the third of the “Big Three” domestic US carmakers.

The 50 percent zero-emission goal will include hybrid cars that use gas, the official said.

The cost of electric vehicles tend to be higher, though Biden has argued that the US can use the might of federal tax credits and purchasing power to make environmentally friendly options more competitive.

The 50 percent goal will reportedly include electric and hybrid vehicles.
The 50 percent goal will reportedly include electric and hybrid vehicles.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The least-expensive new electric car in 2021 is the $29,900 Mini Electric Hardtop, according to US News & World Report, which reported the price before state and federal tax credits. The 2021 Chevrolet Spark, by contrast, is the least-expensive new car overall and starts at $13,400, US News reports.

Biden also will announce on Thursday plans to adopt new fuel efficiency standards for cars that will “build on the California framework” that conservatives derided and the Trump administration sought to block for increasing the costs of manufacturing.

Biden’s executive order “includes direction to the agencies to begin work on the next round of fuel economy and fuel efficiency and emission standards. So that, that sort of next round has yet to come,” the official said.

The executive order will reportedly be announced alongside several American automakers.
The executive order will reportedly be announced alongside several American automakers.
Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images

The new fuel standards for vehicles that use traditional fuels weren’t immediately clear.

The official told reporters there would be “multiple thousands of pages,” which are likely to be pored over by critics, including in Congress, where lawmakers are considering a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that would put $7.5 billion toward building electric vehicle charging stations and $5 billion toward buying electric and low-emission buses.

Asked about whether carmakers would be able to buy credits to continue making gas guzzlers, the administration official said that “in the multiple thousands of pages I hope you all find the time to read, there will be a number of issues that are incredibly specific with regard to these proposed rules.”

Biden’s push to boost the manufacture of electric vehicles is likely to spur Republican pushback. Conservative officials have historically objected to the higher price of electric cars and called for the free market to dictate the future of cars.

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