The Choice in Automobile Retail Sales (CARS) Act passed by a bipartisan vote in the legislature's lower chamber, and it will now head to the Senate. The bill would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from imposing new vehicle emissions rules that either mandate the use of a specific technology or reduce the availability of new cars based on the type of engine.
The bill passed by a 221-197 vote, with five House Democrats voting in favor alongside the Republicans. The bill is specifically designed to disallow the new tailpipe emissions standards that the EPA proposed in April; if finalized, that proposal would effectively require two-thirds of all new car sales in the U.S. to be EVs after 2032.
While EV proponents cite the perceived environmental benefits of their widespread use, critics often highlight the vehicles' higher up-front costs, range anxiety for drivers and inconsistent charging infrastructure. Additionally, China dominates the global supply chain for the raw materials that are required for building EV batteries.
Daren Bakst, the director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said of its passage:
"I applaud the House of Representatives for passing the CARS Act on a bipartisan basis. This commonsense measure would stop the EPA from moving forward with its tailpipe emission rule that would restrict the freedom of Americans to choose the vehicle that best fits their needs. The bill would also help block any similar efforts in the future.... I urge their counterparts in the Senate to swiftly pass the measure to ensure the EPA's attack on consumer choice is killed once and for all."The administration has committed billions of dollars to subsidize EV manufacturing and charging infrastructure, and also to provide consumer tax credits to increase the appeal of the pricier vehicles. Despite these efforts, the EV market is in a tenuous position: manufacturers are mostly losing considerable amounts of money on their EV product lines, consumer demand is not reaching projected levels and auto executives are backing off some of their short-term production targets.
Daniel Turner, the founder and executive director for Power The Future, said of the bill's passage:
"If Joe Biden believes EVs are so wonderful, he shouldn't have to force us to buy them by executive fiat. Now that the House has done its job, the Senate should give this a fair hearing and an immediate up or down vote."Neither the White House nor the EPA responded immediately to requests for comment.