Fuels

3 Separate Groups File Petitions Against EPA’s Ban on New Gas Cars

Regulation would force automakers to increase fuel efficiency, push EVs at ‘unprecedented and unrealistic’ rates by 2032
EPA emissions regulation petitions
Photograph: Shutterstock

Three separate groups filed petitions on Thursday to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its regulation, finalized in March, that will ban most new gas cars and trucks in less than eight years.

The three groups include the Energy Marketers of America (EMA), the American Petroleum Institute and a coalition of U.S. biofuel producers. In total, 36 petitioners are represented among the three filings.

By 2032, the regulation will require the U.S. vehicle fleet to meet an average tailpipe emission target of 85 grams per mile. This regulation is designed to force electric vehicle (EV) adoption, according to the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM).

Today, no gas, diesel or traditional hybrid vehicles come close to meeting EPA’s 85 grams per mile target, and only five of today’s plug-in hybrid models make the cut, said AFPM.

While the final rule does not mandate any technology to meet the new tailpipe emission standard, auto manufacturers are expected to comply by significantly ramping up the manufacture of electric vehicles.

“We need innovations to improve all vehicle technologies to fight climate change,” said Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic industry initiatives at the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), one of the associations that supports the petitions. “EPA’s tailpipe rule would stop a great deal of internal combustion engine innovation in its tracks. The rule is bad policy and should be blocked by the court.”

Automakers historically have improved fuel efficiency by approximately 2% per year, said AFPM, and for most gas-powered vehicles, meeting 85 grams per mile would require unprecedented and unrealistic multiples of that rate. As a result, to be able to sell any of those cars in the years ahead and still meet the fleetwide average, autos must sell significantly more EVs—regardless of whether charging infrastructure exists or the targets align with consumer demand, the organization said.

“The EPA doesn’t have a leg to stand on where its gas car ban regulation is concerned, and we are going to make that case in court,” said Rob Underwood, president of EMA. “This regulation is clearly bad for consumers as it will quickly and drastically restrict their ability to find and purchase affordable new gas cars. It’s bad for marketers of American-made liquid fuels and for U.S. energy security. And importantly, it’s also unlawful. EPA does not have authority under the law to do this.”

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