Date: July 15, 2021
The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr. President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, D.C. 20006
Michael S. Regan, EPA Administrator Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Transportation Gina McCarthy, National Climate Advisor
Brian Deese, Director of the National Economic Council Ali Zaidi, Deputy National Climate Advisor
Austin Brown, Senior Director for Transportation Emissions
Dear President Biden:
The imperative to eliminate climate and air pollution from passenger vehicles has never been greater. Now is the time to adopt clean car standards that maximize pollution reductions from gasoline cars and trucks while also charting a rapid transition to pollution-free electric vehicles that will save thousands of lives each year, protect communities burdened by tailpipe pollution in which people of color are disproportionately impacted, save families thousands of dollars in hard-earned money at the gas pump, and help our nation win the race to create made-in-America jobs through innovative 21st Century technologies.
We urge you to direct the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to immediately begin the EPA rulemaking process to set longer-term, transformative standards beyond model year 2026 that will ensure the U.S. can achieve 100 percent zero-emission vehicle sales by no later than 2035, consistent with your administration’s science-based goal of net-zero GHG emissions economy-wide by 2050. These standards should be finalized by the end of 2022. We also urge you to ensure that EPA finalizes the strongest standards possible this year for standards through model year 2026 that will ensure a smooth transition to the longer-term standards.
To achieve your administration’s commitment to 50-52 percent economy-wide reductions by 2030, the administration must set performance-based standards that achieve progress toward eliminating climate and air pollution by model year 2030 relying on the widespread availability of zero-emitting vehicles – solutions that can be deployed at volumes exceeding one-half of new vehicle sales by the end of the decade – together with maximizing pollution reductions from all remaining gasoline vehicles. By 2030, the standards should achieve at least a 60 percent reduction in carbon pollution compared to today’s new vehicles.
The administration needs to act now to put automakers on track to meet the climate moment. The near- term standards through model year 2026 that will be proposed later this month must start no later than model year 2023 and achieve at least the cumulative emissions reductions expected from model years 2021 through 2025 under the Obama standards.
Our nation’s standards must be robust, have integrity, and ensure strong year-over-year on-road emission reductions. The standards must include well-designed enforceable annual limits to eliminate all dangerous tailpipe pollutants including smog-forming nitrogen oxides, deadly particles, and climate-destabilizing pollution that rely on the widespread availability of gasoline and zero-emitting vehicle technologies. The standards must not be undermined by complex credit schemes that reward automakers for reductions on paper that aren’t matched in real world performance. Such excessive technology credits and loopholes allow automakers to stall gasoline vehicle improvements and will fail to significantly boost the electric vehicle market beyond existing automaker plans.
Strong vehicle standards over the next fifteen years are one of America’s greatest opportunities to cut deadly climate and air pollution, save consumers money at the pump, create good jobs, and ensure the global competitiveness of the U.S. auto industry.
Importantly, adopting strong standards is the critical foundation for industry, stakeholders, and policymakers to work together in support of additional policies that can further accelerate the equitable transition to pollution-free vehicles while creating domestic jobs.
American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Climate and Energy Solutions Ceres
Coalition for Clean Air
Consumer Federation of America
Dream Corps Green For All
Ecology Center (of Michigan)
Elders Climate Action
Environmental Defense Fund
Environmental Law & Policy Center
Interfaith Power & Light
League of Conservation Voters
Moms Clean Air Force
National Parks Conservation Association
Natural Resources Defense Council
Plug In America
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Southern Environmental Law Center
Southwest Energy Efficiency Project
Union of Concerned Scientists