Michigan Lawmaker Proposes Bill to Limit EPA Emission Rules

‘CARS Act’ Would Forbid Engine-Based Availability Limitations
Tim Walberg at a swearing-in ceremony
Former House Speaker Paul Ryan (left) and Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich., right) during a 2017 mock swearing in ceremony in Washington. (Jose Luis Magane/Associated Press)

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) has introduced a bill that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from finalizing strong new emission standards that would push the auto industry toward electric vehicles.

The legislation, dubbed the Choice in Automobile Retail Sales (CARS) Act, would also amend the Clean Air Act to say that regulations cannot mandate the use of specific technology or “result in limited availability” of new vehicles with any particular engine type.

“The Biden administration cannot continue to create regulations that limit consumer choice, hamper mobility, make vehicles more expensive for families, and cede America’s auto leadership and jobs to China,” Walberg said in a statement July 6. “This legislation would put a stop to this executive overreach, allowing consumers to have the freedom to decide what car works best for them and their families and preventing auto manufacturers from being forced to meet unrealistic mandates driven by the President’s Green New Deal agenda.”

EPA’s proposed rule, unveiled in April, would require a 56% reduction in emissions in light-duty vehicles for model years 2027 to 2032. They’re the most aggressive light-duty emissions regulations in U.S. history, and EPA Administrator Michael Regan called them both “ambitious” and necessary to confront climate change.

The rule does not mandate automakers use battery-powered vehicles to achieve emissions reductions. However, EPA estimates they would push automakers to sell more than two-thirds electric vehicles by 2032. EPA argued the goals are achievable in part because automakers are already investing heavily in producing EVs.


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The proposal set off a firestorm of opposition from Republicans in Congress, who argued it is a de facto mandate for electric vehicles. They have argued that a push to electric vehicles would reduce choice and increase costs for consumers because EVs are still typically more expensive than gas-powered cars.

Leading auto advocacy groups have also been critical. The Alliance for Automotive Innovation told EPA the rules are “neither reasonable nor achievable” and argued they could open the door to Chinese manufacturers in the market.

Democrats, environmental groups and consumer advocacy groups have supported the EPA’s proposal, saying it is a necessary step to reduce emissions from transportation, which is still the largest producer of greenhouse gases in the country.

Consumer Reports argued the industry could reach compliance with the rules with 25% of Americans owning EVs, which is in line with potential demand.

The bill has little chance of becoming law, as it would need President Joe Biden’s signature for approval. It has 19 co-sponsors in the House.

The public comment period for EPA’s rule closed July 5. The agency will now review public comments and may choose to alter the proposal before finalizing it.

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