On April 29, the House of Representatives voted 222-190 in favor of the Vehicle Purchasing Choice Preservation Act, a bill that seeks to roll back environmental regulations in California that require the purchase of electric vehicles (EV). The bill, introduced by a group of Republican lawmakers led by Rep. John Joyce, argues that electric vehicle regulations hurt the economy and limit consumer choice. The legislation would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from granting waivers to states that want to ban or restrict internal combustion engine vehicles.
Proponents of the bill claim that electric vehicles are not suitable for all regions due to specific environmental conditions such as extreme weather or mountainous terrain. They argue that people should be able to choose the type of vehicle that best suits their needs. If passed, the law would protect consumers’ right to purchase traditional internal combustion engine vehicles while preventing the imposition of stricter emissions standards than those set by the federal government.
California, which recently announced rules to ban gasoline cars and adopt electric vehicles by 2035, has received a waiver from the Biden administration to meet those requirements. But critics of the bill argue that it ignores the importance of combating climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They believe that the transportation sector is a major contributor to pollution and accelerating climate change and that electric vehicle regulations can help combat these issues.
Importantly, California’s emissions standards and vehicle regulations have a significant impact, as 17 other states have laws that tie their vehicle emissions standards to those set by California. That means the electric vehicle mandate could potentially affect tens of millions of Americans across the country.
The bill was approved by the House of Representatives but still needs to pass through the Senate. The White House has signaled that President Biden would veto the bill if it reached his desk, expressing strong opposition to the bill.