Lawmakers lead 91 colleagues in pushing for robust light- and medium-duty vehicle emissions standards to protect public health, benefit climate and economy

Letter Text (PDF)

Washington (July 13, 2023) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate and Nuclear Safety, and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Representatives Yvette Clarke (NY-09) and Doris Matsui (CA-07) today led 91 colleagues in a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan urging the EPA to finalize the strongest feasible multi-pollutant vehicle emission standards for light- and medium-duty vehicles before the end of this year.

In 2021, U.S. passenger cars and light-duty trucks contributed more than half of all transportation emissions in the U.S. The 2020 passenger fleet produces more than one million tons of nitrogen oxide emissions and 33,400 tons of particulate matter pollution annually, disproportionally harming low-income communities and communities of color. The strongest proposal in the EPA’s rulemaking is projected to increase market share for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) to 69 percent of new vehicle sales by 2032.

“Given the urgency of and benefits from addressing threats to public health, including climate change, the unprecedented resources supporting zero-emission vehicle purchases, manufacturing and infrastructure, and the dramatic advances in clean vehicle adoption, we urge the EPA to adopt the strongest vehicle emission standards supported by the technical record, as necessary to protect public health and the environment, before the end of the year,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter to EPA Administrator Regan.

In their letter, the lawmakers note that investments for ZEV manufacturing, purchasing, and charging stations in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act have made strong rulemaking more viable. The lawmakers also called on the EPA to eliminate loopholes that would weaken the rule and to work with environmental justice communities to ensure they are included in decision-making through a robust and responsive stakeholder engagement process.

Specifically, the lawmakers highlighted that the final rule should:

  1. Result in standards that achieve a 61 percent reduction of carbon dioxide in Model Year 2032 compared to existing Model Year 2026 standards, a reduction in criteria air pollutants including 37 percent reduction in particulate matter, 44 percent reduction in nitrogen oxides, and 55 percent in volatile organic compounds—a standard which is projected to increase the market share for zero-emission vehicles to an estimated 69 percent of new light-duty vehicle sales in 2032;
  2. Close loopholes in how compliance is calculated, including by phasing-out off-cycle carbon dioxide and air conditioning credits, which weaken the proposed rule; and,
  3. Further strengthen durability and warranty requirements for zero-emission vehicles, which will provide benefits to drivers and enhance the likelihood that expected emissions reductions will be achieved.

The letter is cosigned by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Representatives Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), André Carson (IN-07), Troy Carter (LA-02), Matt Cartwright (PA-08), Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Cori Bush (MO-01), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20), Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Jim Costa (CA-21), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Valerie Foushee (NC-04), Jesús García (IL-04), Robert Garcia (CA-42), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-07), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Glenn Ivey (MD-4), Sara Jacobs (CA-51), Henry Johnson (GA-04), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (CA-37) Ro Khanna (CA-17), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Mike Levin (CA-49), Ted Lieu (CA-36), Doris Matsui (CA-07), Jennifer McClellan (VA-04), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Jim McGovern (MA-02), Grace Meng (NY-06), Kevin Mullin (CA-15), Jerrold Nadler (NY-12), Eleanor Norton (DC), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) , Scott Peters (CA-50), Katie Porter (CA-47), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), C.A Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02), Linda Sánchez (CA-38), John Sarbanes (MD-03), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Adam Schiff (CA-30), Adam Smith (WA-09), Darren Soto (FL-09), Mark Takano (CA-39), Mike Thompson (CA-04), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), Jill Tokuda (HI-02), Paul Tonko (NY-20), David Trone (MD-06), Juan Vargas (CA-52), Maxine Waters (CA-43), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Frederica Wilson (FL-24), Donald Payne (NJ-10), Nikema Williams (GA-05), Summer Lee (PA-12), Ritchie Torres (NY-15), Greg Casar (TX-35), Pete Aguilar (CA-31), Shri Thanedar (MI-13), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Nydia Velázquez (NY-07), Bobby Scott (VA-03), Dan Goldman (NY-10), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Zoe Lofgren (CA-18), Veronica Escobar (TX-16),  John Garamendi (CA-08), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), and Joe Morelle (NY-25).

In March, Senators Markey and Padilla and Representatives Matsui and Clarke led 54 of their colleagues in urging the EPA to swiftly issue the strongest possible vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards for both cars and trucks by the end of March, and to finalize those rules by the end of the year, speeding up its deadline of March 2024. In November 2021, Senators Markey, Padilla and Feinstein and Representative Matsui also led colleagues in a letter to the EPA calling for the Agency to strengthen vehicle emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks for Model Years 2023 through 2026.

Senator Markey has been a champion for clean vehicles since stronger standards were enabled by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which included fuel economy language co-authored by then-Representative Markey. The 2007 law included Senator Markey’s language that set the vehicle standard to at least 35 miles per gallon by 2020 and required the “maximum feasible standard” to be annually established. During the Trump administration, Senator Markey reintroduced the Greener Air Standards Mean Our National Security, Environment, and Youth (GAS MONEY) Saved Act, which would block efforts to roll back fuel economy and vehicle emission standards.