Both of California’s two U.S. senators are urging President Biden to set a date to phase out gas-powered vehicles.
In a letter that President Biden received on Monday, Democratic Senators Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein called upon Biden to “to follow California’s lead and set a date by which all new cars and passenger trucks sold be zero-emission vehicles.” In the letter, the Senators also called for restoring California’s ability to set clean car standards and making emission guidelines that California and several vehicle corporations agreed to into federal law. Last September, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that bans the sale of new gas powered vehicles, which goes into effect in 2035.
The president has already taken some steps to increase the amount of electric vehicles on the road, for example, President Biden signed an executive order that replaces all 645,000 federally owned cars “with clean electric vehicles made right here in America made by American workers.” President Biden also signed an executive order that directs the government to revise fuel-economy standards by July on his first day in office. California has been a leader in setting stricter environmental rules on vehicle emissions than what the government enforces.
The EPA during the Trump presidency repealed California’s ability to create strong emissions standards. California’s Senators want that power back, they also want the emissions standards that California and several automobile corporations- such as Ford Honda, Volkswagen, and BMW- agreed to be made federal law as said in the letter, “We believe the national baseline should, at an absolute minimum, be built around the technical lead set by companies that voluntarily advanced their agreements with California.” California and the corporations agreed to boost average fuel economy to 51 miles per gallon by 2026 [Reuters].
The White House has not responded to the letter yet, but the EPA did. The EPA stated that new emissions rules “will play an important role in confronting climate change and advancing economic and employment opportunities. EPA is working with the Department of Transportation, California and other states, the automobile industry, labor, and other stakeholders to consider a range of views on how to set ambitious [emissions] standards.” In January General Motors said it wants to end all gas powered vehicle sales by 2035 and Volvo and Ford’s European gasoline vehicle sales will end by 2030 [CBS].
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