WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Thursday that will set a new goal that half of the vehicles sold in the country by 2030 will be electric, a key White House strategy to fight global warming.
Joining Biden at the White House for the event were members from Ford and GM along with members of the United Auto Workers Union. The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation also announced a rollback of Trump-era fuel emissions standards.
Under the new goals, by 2030 half of vehicles made would be battery electric vehicles, which have no internal combustion engines, and plug-in hybrid cars, which have gasoline engines but are only used in the event the battery runs out.
“The question is whether we’ll lead or fall behind in the race for the future,” Biden said. “Right now, China’s leading the race as one of the largest and fastest-growing electric vehicle markets in the world.”
Former President Donald Trump rolled back the stricter standards put in place during the Obama administration, and now Biden will put them back. However, he plans to make them even stricter — up to possibly 10 percent.
A White House fact sheet seemed to indicate that the administration will leave the Trump standard for miles per gallon in place until 2024 and the greenhouse gas emissions standard until 2023.
By the model year 2026, the proposed standards would be the most strict greenhouse gas standards in US history. Biden’s expected announcement will be key for his efforts to combat climate change as 29 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions were due to transportation in 2019.
“The rest of the world is moving ahead. We just got to step up,” said Biden. “That’s a big deal, but to unlock the full potential, we have to keep investing in our workers and our manufacturing capacity.”
Some automakers have already made similar announcements with GM saying it will sell only electric vehicles by 2035. Other automakers will make the pledge to have between 40 percent to 50 percent zero-emission vehicles by 2030.
The 50 percent goal will set expectations for automakers to make the transition over from gas to electric ones, a key measure of Biden’s strategy to tackle the ongoing threat of climate change.
The news comes as the Biden administration has struggled to secure the federal investments in electric vehicle infrastructure as part of the bipartisan infrastructure deal. Biden called for $174 billion in federal spending for a half-million electric vehicle charging stations across the country. However, he got just $7.5 billion for that in the bipartisan deal.
This story has been updated with additional information.