Republicans Highlight Role of Internal Combustion Engines
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Legislation that aims to block efforts to prevent the sale of internal combustion engines was recently introduced in the Senate.
The Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act, sponsored by Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), would restrict the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing waivers specific to the sale or use of new motor vehicles equipped with such traditional engines, including diesel units that are ubiquitous in Class 8 trucks.
The bill’s Republican sponsors explained they are aiming to preserve the integrity of consumer choice as well as maintain competition in the marketplace. In particular, they aim to limit efforts by California lawmakers to ban the sale of vehicles with internal combustion engines.
“California’s waivers are not about clean energy, they are about control,” Mullin said last month. “Democrats want to control every aspect of Americans’ lives — including what car they drive. If it were about clean energy, banning tailpipe emissions in favor of electric vehicles that strain an unstable grid is not the solution. This bill will ensure Americans can choose what vehicle is best for themselves and their families and allow that choice to dictate the market.”
Mullin went on, “Capitalism has already proven that internal combustion engine vehicles represent the overwhelming majority of vehicle purchases in America. Not to mention, America is less secure when we are dependent on foreign adversaries for critical mineral supply.”
“Our legislation is all about protecting consumer choice and, ultimately, free market competition that drives down costs,” added Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), a cosponsor.
The Senate bill awaits consideration in a committee of jurisdiction. Meanwhile, a panel in the House has approved its version of the bill. The chamber’s Republican leadership intends to continue to advance the legislation this year.
Rep. John Joyce (R-Pa.) is the measure’s lead sponsor in the House. “California’s reckless waiver request would have far-reaching consequences for consumers across the United States. Congress must act now to pass the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act and avoid forcing consumers to purchase electric vehicles that fail to meet their needs,” Joyce indicated, adding, “Thank you to Sen. Mullin for leading this important legislation in the Senate.”
“Last summer, we saw California’s energy grid struggle to meet growing energy demands, and these proposed regulations would only exacerbate that strain,” said Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), a cosponsor. “With the higher-than-average cost of an [electric vehicle], the average Californian might find themselves not only unable to afford a new EV vehicle, but even if they are, potentially unable to keep it reliably charged due to brown or blackouts. All Americans should have the freedom to choose which vehicle makes the most sense for their particular circumstances and budgets, and the Californian elite should not be able to set a precedent that could have negative impacts on all Americans.”
The legislation responds to the California Air Resources Board’s recent requirements on automakers that would lead to an eventual ban on the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles in about a decade. Certain federal waivers are required to proceed with California’s plan.
American Trucking Associations is among the groups endorsing the legislation in Congress. ATA Executive Vice President of Advocacy Bill Sullivan said, “ATA believes we must set national, achievable and realistic targets and timelines along the way to our shared goal of zero emissions. Those efforts must be made through a lens of technology neutrality, allowing innovation to provide a wide range of solutions that meet the diverse needs of the trucking industry.”
“To that end,” Sullivan continued, “we thank Sen. Mullin for calling attention to the unachievable timelines being proposed by California. Setting a patchwork of regulations will disrupt the nation’s supply chain and force motor carriers to purchase costly, early-stage equipment and operate it in an environment with insufficient infrastructure support. Moving forward, ATA will continue working with Sen. Mullin, other champions in Congress, coalition partners in industry, and federal regulators to set achievable emissions goals for the trucking industry.”
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