“There has to be continuous pressure for improvement” to prevent industry backsliding, Dan Becker, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Safe Climate Transport Campaign, said. 

Environmentalists, public-health and EV advocates have lobbied the administration to ensure requirements for model-year 2030 vehicles are 75 percent tougher than those governing 2021 models.

Strong standards are “incredibly important” to sending market signals to accelerate electric vehicle emissions and secure necessary emission reductions later on, Britt Carmon, a senior advocate with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said. 

The EPA is poised to reject some environmentalists’ requests to set standards through 2035, however. Automakers pushed for a shorter timetable, cautioning White House officials in a Feb. 14 meeting that the trajectory for EVs and emission reductions depends on factors outside their control, including investments in charging infrastructure and critical mineral production. 

The shift will require a “massive, 100-year change to the US industrial base,” and the rule should be based on “a clear-eyed assessment of market readiness,” the Alliance for Automotive Innovation said Thursday. 

The EPA proposal is set to also tighten limits on smog-forming vehicle pollution, potentially forcing automakers to adopt exhaust controls already used on cars sold in Europe, China and other markets. 

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