| 15 April 2024, Monday |

Twelve U.S. states urge Biden to back phasing out gas-powered vehicle sales by 2035

The governors of a dozen U.S. states including New York, California, North Carolina and Massachusetts urged President Joe Biden on Wednesday to back ending sales of new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035, a dramatic shift away from fossil fuels.

The U.S. President’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan calls for $174 billion in spending and tax credits to boost electric vehicles (EVs) and charging networks but does not call for phasing out gasoline-powered passenger vehicles.

In a letter that was seen by Reuters, the governors, which also include those of Hawaii, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, Oregon, New Mexico ,Washington State and Rhode Island, called on Biden to set standards “to ensure that all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold are zero-emission no later than 2035 with significant milestones along the way to monitor progress.”

“By establishing a clear regulatory path to ensuring that all vehicles sold in the United States are zero-emission, we can finally clear the air and create high-road jobs,” they argued.

The governors also want Biden to set standards and adopt incentives aimed at ensuring 100% zero-emission sales of medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles by 2045.

The White House did not immediately comment on the governors’ letter.

States and some MPs hope Biden’s endorsement of a phase-out date will accelerate the transition to EVs by users and automakers. EVs currently make up only 2% of U.S. vehicle sales.

A number of U.S. lawmakers have called on Biden follow California’s lead, which in September said it planned to end sales of new gas-powered passenger vehicles by 2035. Last fall, Biden’s campaign said he did not support California’s phase-out plan.

In March, a group of 71 House Democrats called on Biden to set stringent emissions rules to ensure 60% of new passenger cars and trucks sold are zero-emission by 2030, while 10 U.S. senators urged Biden “to set a date by which new sales of fossil fuel vehicles will end entirely.”

In January, General Motors GM.N said it was setting a goal to end all gasoline passenger car and truck sales by 2035. Volvo, a unit of Zhejiang Geely Holding 0175.HK, said its entire car line-up will be fully electric by 2030 and Ford’s F.N European lineup will also be fully electric by 2030.

In their letter, the governors said they want the U.S. President to boost fuel economy standards rolled back under President Donald Trump and provide states “substantial funding for investment in charging and fueling infrastructure.” They also called for removal of or raising the EV tax credit limits per manufacturer.

But not everyone has supported a phase-out plan.

Rory Gamble, the president of the United Auto Workers union, has expressed caution about the shift to EVs, pointing out that it takes fewer workers to build EVs than gas-powered vehicles and said “workers will disproportionately suffer if we do not get it right.”

He said last month the government must ensure the transition to EVs “is stable, reliable and creates quality union wage jobs and flexible to market demand not relying on a one-size fits all solution.”

  • Reuters