House Republicans have once again attempted to pass a law that will increase emissions and cost Americans trillions of dollars in additional fuel and health costs.
The bill in question is called H.R.4468, the “CARS” act. It was introduced by Representatives Tim Walberg (R-MI) and Andrew Clyde (R-GA). It passed the House on Wednesday by a vote of 221-197, with 216 Republicans and 5 Democrats voting to poison you and cost you trillions of dollars and 197 Democrats and zero Republicans voting to protect you from pollution and save you money.
The law, which has not yet been voted on in the Senate and will be vetoed by President Biden if it does reach his desk, intends to block the implementation of the EPA’s new emissions rules, which will avoid nearly 10 billion tons of emissions and save Americans trillions of dollars in health and fuel costs if implemented.
The rules work out to $12,000 in savings for the average consumer over the average life of a vehicle, not to mention the hundreds of billions of dollars in health and climate benefits.
The emissions rules were released in April, and the EPA has been taking public comments and considering more or less stringent alternatives since, which will culminate in a final implementation of the rule early next year.
Various lobbying groups have had their say in the interim, with the Alliance for Automotive Innovation (AAI) wrongly saying that the rules are “neither reasonable nor achievable.” The AAI represents nearly every major automaker – many of them, like Ford and GM, have claimed to be all-in on EVs and yet still lend their support to a group that lobbies for worse emission standards.
The few companies that aren’t part of AAI’s membership tend to be the all-electric automakers who, almost a decade early, are already well within compliance with the regulation’s 2032 target, showing that the target is, in fact, achievable in contradiction to AAI’s incorrect claim. These automakers have much more reasonably called for stronger action, not lighter action.
But despite us writing about this in an EV publication, the EPA standards do not mandate EVs, in contradiction to claims made by H.R. 4468’s main sponsor. Part of the bill reads:
“(B) Effective beginning on the date of enactment of this subparagraph, any regulation prescribed under paragraph (1) (and any revision thereof), including any such regulation or revision prescribed before the date of enactment of this subparagraph, shall not—
“(i) mandate the use of any specific technology; or
“(ii) result in limited availability of new motor vehicles based on the type of new motor vehicle engine in such new motor vehicles.”.
And Walberg, in defending his assault on Americans’ lungs and pocketbooks, stated, “While EVs may play a large role in the future of the auto industry, Washington should not discount other technologies like hydrogen, hybrids, and the internal combustion engine.”
However, Walberg shows that he did not comprehend the regulations in question because the proposed EPA regulation, in fact, does not do that. All it does is mandate a certain level of emissions from vehicles, and automakers are free to use any technologies they want to reach those emissions levels.
If they can reach suitably low levels of pollution with internal combustion engines, they are free to use them. And if hybridization or hydrogen can contribute more than internal combustion engines can, and if they can get consumers to actually want to buy cars with those technologies, then they are free to use those technologies as well.
The EPA standards have been described as “technology-agnostic” in that they don’t mandate a specific path to reach emissions targets, merely setting the targets themselves.
This shows a lack of understanding on behalf of the bill’s author and the hundreds of Republicans (and 5 Democrats) who voted for it, telling people who do understand the issue (the EPA) that they need to stop doing a thing they aren’t even doing. The instruction the bill provides to the EPA stands in direct contradiction with the other mandate the House has already given it – to protect clean air – through the Clean Air Act, which is what led the EPA to propose these standards in the first place.
This action is just the latest in a long recent history of the US Republican party attacking clean air and working to increase costs and decrease the consumer’s ability to choose a cleaner vehicle or to live in a world where pollution is not forced upon them.
Just last week, Ohio Republicans echoed US House Republicans in attempting to overturn California’s pollution standards – yet another assault on the very same “states’ rights” that they often claim to believe in.
Earlier in this same House term, House and Senate Republicans voted on a bill to overturn the EPA’s first truck soot rule in two decades, which they knew would never pass into law, and yet they still wanted to send a message – to let you know that if they did gain power, they are champing at the bit for any chance to poison you.
This new bill will now be referred to the Senate, where it may or may not receive a vote, and will be vetoed by President Biden if it reaches his desk. Given the lack of a veto-proof majority, it is dead in the water – merely acting as a statement by House Republicans that they want to increase pollution and costs for Americans at a time when we desperately need a reduction in both. When people show you who they are, believe them.