New Biden clean cars proposal will spur electric vehicle adoption, slash pollution

Media Contacts
Lisa Frank

Executive Director, Environment America; Vice President and D.C. Director, The Public Interest Network

Matt Casale

Former Director, Environment Campaigns, PIRG

EPA’s proposed tailpipe emissions rule among the strongest in the world


WASHINGTON – The Biden administration proposed Wednesday some of the most ambitious vehicle pollution limits in the world, following similar actions by many U.S. states. The pending rule from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is designed to ensure that all-electric cars make up as many as 2 out of every 3 new passenger vehicles sold in the United States by 2032. Electric vehicles made up a record 5.8% of new U.S. vehicle sales in 2022. The agency also proposed new limits on pollution from trucks.

Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, with cars, SUVs and small trucks responsible for the vast majority. Tailpipe emissions are also a major source of health-harming air pollution. Because electric vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions, replacing gas- and diesel-powered vehicles with them reduces air pollution. Charging an electric vehicle already produces fewer climate-warming emissions than driving a gas-powered car. As the U.S. transitions to more clean, renewable energy, the combination of electric vehicles and their power sources will become even cleaner. 

Electric vehicle sales have grown steadily in all 50 states over the past decade, and California is requiring all new cars sold to be electric or zero-emission by 2035. Seventeen states follow California’s tailpipe pollution limits, which are stronger than current federal standards, and some of those states are considering adopting California’s electric vehicle target as well. 

In response, Matt Casale, director of U.S. PIRG’s environment campaigns, issued the following statement:

“We cannot address climate change without phasing out gas-powered transportation. We thank the Biden administration for embracing the promise of clean cars. These new vehicle pollution standards will pay off in cleaner air and a healthier future for all Americans. 

“While we must invest in electrifying our transportation, we also need to embrace a wider range of transportation options, including more transit, bike and pedestrian infrastructure. By transforming our transportation system, we can enable Americans to drive less and live more.”

Lisa Frank, Environment America’s Washington legislative office executive director, said: 

“We can now power our homes, cars and even trucks with clean electricity – and we must do so to secure a livable climate. These new pollution limits, combined with improved tax credits for new and used electric vehicles and historic investments in electric vehicle charging, will help Americans use less gas and breathe cleaner air while slashing climate emissions. This is among the most significant actions on climate by the Biden administration to date. We look forward to seeing a strong rule finalized and to the healthier future it will bring.”