President Joe Biden drove a hybrid Jeep Wrangler across the White House's South Lawn, touting new battery technology used in the electric fleet. As he signed an executive order setting a goal for zero-emission cars to account for 50% of all vehicles sold in the United States by 2030, Biden said "there's no turning back" on the future of the electric auto industry.
On Thursday, Biden said the auto industry has committed to producing electric vehicles for as much as half of US sales by the end of the decade, claiming that the US must "move fast" to win the world's car-making future. Between now and model year 2026, Biden wants automakers to improve the gas economy and reduce tailpipe emissions.
Biden's step to start a shift toward electric vehicles
As he pushes for a historic shift in the United States from internal combustion engines to battery-powered cars, that would be a big step toward achieving his commitment to reduce emissions and combat climate change, Orlando Sentinel reported. He pushed for the components needed to enable that dramatic shift - from batteries to semiconductors - to be manufactured in the United States as well, hoping for business and labor support for the environmental drive in exchange for new jobs and billions in government electric car expenditures.
Per USA Today, it's one of many initiatives unveiled by Biden to kick-start a massive shift toward electric vehicles as part of the administration's broader plan to combat climate change and compete with China, the world's leading electric vehicle market.
The president was joined by executives from Ford, GM, and Stellantis, and officials from the United Auto Workers union and members of Congress, on the White House South Lawn, with zero-emissions automobiles parked behind him.
In addition to automobiles, SUVs, and pickup trucks, Biden said his administration would create long-term fuel economy and pollution rules for heavy-duty vehicles. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, President Donald Trump's lowering of near-term fuel economy and pollution rules for gas cars will be reversed.
Leading automakers support Biden's zero-emission goals
According to the White House, the new EPA standards would save roughly 200 billion gallons of fuel and 2 billion metric tons of carbon emissions, saving customers $900 over the life of a vehicle. Officials from the Biden administration who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the measures said the fuel efficiency and emissions regulations would generate roughly $140 billion in net benefits over the program's lifetime.
Battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and fuel-cell electric cars are all covered by the presidential order. According to the Pew Research Center, electric vehicles accounted for fewer than 2% of US automotive sales in each of the previous three years, putting the United States below 19 other countries and the global average. Compared to the United States, China has more than double the number of electric vehicles on the road and is expanding electric vehicle sales at more than double the rate.
Leading automakers have made voluntary pledges in support of the administration's aims. Ford, Honda, BMW, Volkswagen, and Volvo have issued a joint statement asking for a high national greenhouse gas emissions standard, sustained investments in charging infrastructure, and broad consumer incentives for all-electric car sales.
Toyota, the top-selling manufacturer in the United States, was conspicuously absent from the automakers' joint statements, which the White House also issued. Toyota, which created the Prius, the world's first mass-produced hybrid car, is less excited about all-electric vehicles, preferring to invest in the more expensive hydrogen fuel cell technology.
An industry lobbying organization has also raised a warning flag. The Biden administration's aims are described as a "challenge" by the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which adds that all levels of government must contribute to the plan's achievement, as per Voice of America News.