House Committee Examines EPA’s Draft Rule on Tailpipe Emissions

NACS testifies to share industry perspective on EPA proposal.

May 18, 2023

WASHINGTON—This week, the House Oversight and Accountability Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy and Regulatory Affairs held a hearing, “Driving Bad Policy:  Examining EPA’s Tailpipe Emissions Rules and the Realities of a Rapid Electric Vehicle Transition.”

The purpose of the hearing was to examine EPA’s draft rule to set aggressive tailpipe emissions standards, including greenhouse gas emissions, for vehicles starting in 2027 through 2032. The draft rule sets the target of reducing emissions, on average, 56% between new cars sold in 2026 and new cars sold in 2032. EPA estimates that 67% of new vehicles in 2032 would have to be electric vehicles (EVs) to comply with these emissions targets.

In his opening statement, Kantor stated, “One part of addressing carbon emissions in the transportation sector is electric vehicles. Our industry has made significant investments in EV charging to serve the motoring public operating EVs.” He went on to say, “To be successful, retailers must be attuned to consumer preferences and desires, and our industry believes over the coming years, more of our customers will demand electricity as a fuel. And, we want to be able to sell consumers whatever fuel they want long into the future.”

Sharing concerns over EPA’s proposal, Kantor shared, “While we are supporters of the development of EVs and EV chargers, we have concerns with the approach taken by the EPA in its tailpipe rules. By focusing on tailpipe emissions rather than the overall lifecycle emissions and choosing EVs as the preferred technology rather than other technologies—including internal combustion engines and potentially additional innovation in engine or liquid fuels—the EPA has reached conclusions that are not as effective as they should be for the economy or for the environment.”

“We need policies in place that take a clear-eyed look at all emissions related to the transportation sector and that lead to emission reductions from all vehicle technologies. Only by allowing different technologies to compete on emissions reductions as well as on their appeal to consumers will we get the best environmental and economic outcomes that we can achieve.”

During questioning by members of the subcommittee, Representative Nick Langworthy (R-NY) asked Kantor to elaborate on concerns over EPA choosing EVs as a winner and internal combustion engines as losers and the need for competition and innovation among all technologies. Kantor responded, “We are concerned that what this rule will do is push automakers to move their engineering resources and their focus of innovation away from the internal combustion engine and just towards EVs.” Kantor continued, “Some of that is happening as a market measure anyway, and that’s great where it’s happening as a response to the market. But here, we think (with this proposal) that gives us worse results than we would get otherwise.”

The public comment period is now open for EPA’s draft tailpipe emission rules. NACS will be submitting comments to EPA for the record.