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NYTimes
New York Times
17 Feb 2024
Coral Davenport


NextImg:Biden Administration Is Said to Slow Early Stage of Shift to Electric Cars

In a concession to automakers and labor unions, the Biden administration intends to relax elements of one of its most ambitious strategies to combat climate change, limits on tailpipe emissions that are designed to get Americans to switch from gas-powered cars to electric vehicles, according to three people familiar with the plan.

Instead of essentially requiring automakers to rapidly ramp up sales of electric vehicles over the next few years, the administration would give car manufacturers more time, with a sharp increase in sales not required until after 2030, these people said. They asked to remain anonymous because the regulation has not been finalized. The administration plans to publish the final rule by early spring.

The change comes as President Biden faces intense crosswinds as he runs for re-election while trying to confront climate change. He is aiming to cut carbon dioxide emissions from gasoline-powered vehicles, which make up the largest single source of greenhouse gases emitted by the United States.

At the same time, Mr. Biden needs cooperation from the auto industry and political support from the unionized auto workers who backed him in 2020 but now worry that an abrupt transition to electric vehicles would cost jobs. At the same time, consumer demand has not been what automakers hoped, with potential buyers put off by sticker prices and the relative scarcity of charging stations.

Sensing an opening, former President Donald J. Trump, the Republican front-runner, has seized on electric cars, falsely warning the public that they “don’t work” and telling autoworkers that Mr. Biden’s policies are “lunacy” that he would extinguish on “the first day” of his return to the White House.

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Traffic in Berkeley, Calif. Delaying stringent emissions requirements could come at a cost to the climate.Credit...Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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