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Newest vehicle emission standards rattling car dealers amid slumping demand


The Environmental Protection Agency unveiled stricter vehicle emission standards last week, prompting a response from the organizer of a group of car dealerships across the country who have been calling on the Biden administration to “slam the brakes” on its proposed electric vehicle directives.

Coupled with the decline in enthusiasm for EVs and a mandate they call “completely unrealistic,” the EPA’s final rule adds yet another level of concern for dealerships who say the administration is not listening to the voice of the customer.

The EPA calls the new regulations the “strongest ever” for light-duty and medium-duty vehicles and begins with 2027 models. They claim that over 7 billion tons of carbon emissions will be avoided, it will provide billions of dollars in public health benefits annually, and in addition, reduce annual fuel and maintenance costs for drivers.

The final rules were relaxed for the initial three years from those originally proposed but will eventually reach the stricter levels first laid out by the EPA.

As The Center Square previously reported, last November, over 4,000 dealerships from every state sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking him to “tap the brakes” on his proposed EV mandate based on a lack of consumer demand.

By January, with no response from the administration – and their numbers growing to over 5,000 – a second letter was sent urging the president to “slam the brakes.”

Mickey Anderson – owner of Baxter Auto Group based in Omaha, Nebraska – spearheaded the collaborative effort. In an email to The Center Square, he said the statement posted to their website after the EPA’s announcement was sent to the over 5,000 dealerships who sent open letters to the president.

The statement says it is positive that the regulations were softened “in recognition of the slowing growth of EV sales.” However, it would still require an increase in sales far beyond the consumer interest they are experiencing at their dealerships.

The statement says customers continue to bypass EVs due to concerns about “affordability, charging infrastructure, performance in cold weather, and resale value,” despite generous government, manufacturer and dealer incentives.

“Worse still, the regulations spike in 2031-32 and revert to the unrealistic mandate that essentially requires that two-thirds of all vehicles sold be electric.”

It also says that they are in agreement with the National Automobile Dealers Association, or NADA, which maintains the EV mandate, is “too far, too fast.”

A recent poll from The Center Square reflects that claim, finding that roughly two-thirds of respondents felt the federal government “was pushing too hard” for EV adoption.

The dealers are urging the administration “to track EV sales versus projections and make necessary adjustments to reflect consumer demand.”

Anderson previously told The Center Square in an email that the government regulation will force an extreme shift to battery electric vehicles and “will dramatically limit the American consumers’ right to choose a vehicle that meets their needs.”

“This EV mandate is not the result of an open Congressional debate,” he said. “This is unelected Washington bureaucrats dictating what kind of vehicles Americans can buy.”

“We can take some solace in knowing that the voice of our customers broke through enough to convince the Biden Administration to moderate the mandate in the early years,” Anderson added. “But sadly the regulation stubbornly hangs on to an EV mandate that is clearly disconnected from the realities of the marketplace and the voice of the customer.”

Since January, the number of Pennsylvania dealerships who signed on to the letter increased from 85 to 132.