On January 25, 2024, a letter was sent to President Biden from over 4,700 U.S. automotive dealerships across the U.S., urging the halt of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) efforts to enforce stricter vehicle pollution standards. The EPA’s ruling addresses climate change by reducing tailpipe emissions.
The EPA expects to finalize the ruling soon, requiring up to two-thirds of new vehicles sold in the U.S. to be electric by 2032. This marks a nearly tenfold increase over current EV sales. The regulation would set tailpipe emissions limits for car model years 2027 through 2032, the strictest ever imposed. It calls for far more new EV sales than the industry agreed to under two years ago.
The January letter was the second of its kind from the group. Nearly 4,000 auto dealerships across the U.S. asked Biden to “tap the brakes” on the EPA proposal in November. The letter referred to the EPA tailpipe emissions rule as an “electric vehicle mandate.”
In the January letter, the dealerships asked that the President stop the EPA ruling entirely, mentioning several EV adoption barriers. The dealerships claimed that the number of EVs on their dealerships’ lots is double the number of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and that the EVs were not selling quickly enough to comply with the EPA tailpipe emissions regulation.
Kelley Blue Book reported a record-breaking nearly 1.2 million EVs sold in the U.S. in 2023, representing the fastest-growing car sales category. EVs comprised a 7.6% share of the total U.S. vehicle market in 2023, up from 5.9% in 2022. These statistics disagree with the dealerships’ claims. The claim is dubious, according to experts.
Dealers have been notoriously unprepared for the EV revolution. Customers have complained that dealerships tried to steer them away from EVs towards ICE vehicles. Customers also said the dealerships had woefully insufficient knowledge of EVs and charging. Analysts urge dealerships to embrace EVs, as the future of transportation is electric. Not doing so would not be a good business decision. With a change as huge as updating the power source of America’s entire transportation sector, a few small bumps in the road are expected.