Possible relaxation of environmental regulations in the United States

As the EPA prepares to finalize its strictest rule to date to reduce vehicle exhaust emissions, the American automotive industry is urging the agency to relax the requirements, and they could succeed. Since the proposal was published in April, automakers, dealerships, and the UAW union have been lobbying the EPA to relax requirements they believe impose an aggressive increase in electric vehicle sales before supply chains, infrastructure, and the market are ready.

Industry Pressure on the EPA

In response to industry pressure, the EPA is expected to relax some parts of the rule, which could be finalized as early as March, giving automakers more time to increase electric vehicle sales, according to reports this month citing anonymous sources. Under the EPA proposal, automakers would be required to achieve an average emissions reduction of 13% across their fleets for model years 2027-2032, representing a 56% reduction compared to the targeted average emissions levels of the 2026 model year.

Impact on Electric Vehicles

If the requirements are finalized, they could push electric vehicles to represent 60% of new vehicle sales by the model year 2030 and 67% by 2032, according to agency projections, excluding plug-in hybrids from its analysis. An EPA spokesperson declined to comment on speculation about a final rule but stated that the agency was “committed to finalizing a feasible technology standard, ensuring reductions in air and climate pollution, and ensuring economic benefits for families.”

Time is Running Out

According to a revised plan, the EPA is expected to adopt a less aggressive pace of emissions reductions followed by stricter cuts after the model year 2029. Some believe this approach could resemble the “Alternative 3” option included in the EPA’s interim rule. This alternative would still require a 56% reduction in emissions from new vehicles by 2032 but would loosen the rigor of the early model years. For example, it would mandate an 11% reduction in emissions for the 2027 model year and a 17% reduction for the 2032 model year, compared to the desired EPA proposal of 18% in 2027 and 11% in 2032.

Industry Reactions

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation has referred to the EPA’s interim rule as a “de facto mandate for electric vehicles,” deemed unrealistic. The alliance wants the EPA to align the standards more closely with the goal of 40 to 50% electric vehicle sales by 2030, in line with President Joe Biden’s target. Dealerships have also urged Biden to reconsider the interim regulations, arguing that they would impose an unrealistic shift to electric vehicles in a market where consumers are not ready due to unresolved challenges such as financial accessibility and access to reliable charging stations.

Industry Challenges

Despite the transition to more electric vehicles, the industry faces several challenges, including lower-than-expected demand, prompting manufacturers to adjust their production plans and sales targets. Some may rely more on plug-in hybrids and conventional hybrids to remain profitable while meeting stricter emissions rules.

Gaps to Fill

Although the industry has announced significant investments in electrification, gaps remain in the electric vehicle market, including a comprehensive offering covering every segment in terms of size, utility, and price range. Some believe the EPA should address these gaps to ensure that regulations remain reasonable and that the industry’s impact on climate and local environment is significantly reduced.


The balance between environmental requirements and the reality of the automotive market remains delicate. The industry is advocating for a more gradual approach, emphasizing the speed at which the market and supply chains can adapt. The EPA must navigate skillfully to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles while allowing the industry to realistically adjust to new standards, all while maintaining consumer choice.

With information from Automotive News

The text “Possible assouplissement des règles environnementales aux États-Unis” comes from “L’annuel de l’automobile – Actualité automobile”