EPA Finalizes Strict New Limits on Tailpipe Emissions

After nearly a year of frantic lobbying and debate, the EPA has finalized strict new rules on vehicle emissions that will push the auto industry to accelerate its transition to electric vehicles. The EPA expects that under the new rules, EVs could account for up to 56% of new passenger vehicles sold for model years 2030 through 2032.

The rules cover light- and medium-duty vehicles — cars, SUVs, vans and pickup trucks, but not 18-wheelers — from model years 2027 to 2032. The EPA rules are not written as an EV mandate or a ban on the sale of gas cars. Instead, the EPA sets standards that apply across an entire fleet — meaning an automaker still can make vehicles with higher emissions, as long as they also make enough very low or zero-emission vehicles that it averages out.

The oil industry, meanwhile, has been an even more vocal critic of these rules and other policies promoting EVs. Rising adoption of electric vehicles is expected to reduce oil demand over time, although it will take decades for the global fleet of vehicles to turn over.

But the oil industry’s opposition goes even further. The attorney general of Texas has previously filed a lawsuit challenging the EPA’s authority to set rules designed to promote electric vehicles. Multiple oil trade groups backed Texas in the case.