U.S. House of Representatives passes anti-EPA CARS Act

Casey Maxon

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the Choice in Automobile Retail Sales (CARS) Act, legislation that directly targets President Biden’s federal regulations that take aim at petroleum-powered vehicles.

The vote was 221-197, with every Republican and five Democrat members of Congress voting in favor of the CARS Act. The legislation was introduced five months ago in response to tailpipe emissions regulation proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency in April that, the White House claims, could result in 67 percent of new car, SUV and light truck purchases, up to 50 percent of bus and garbage truck purchases, and up to 25 percent of long-haul trucks going electric by 2032.

“The passage of the CARS Act is a massive victory for every consumer and the entire American auto industry,” Representative Tim Walberg (R-Michigan), one of the bill’s sponsors, told Fox News Digital. “Biden’s mandate has always been unrealistic, and a textbook study on how central planning and Bidenomics simply do not work. Mandating EVs has never been a responsible or affordable solution.

“Just last week, nearly 4000 car dealers sent a letter to the Biden administration asking them to reconsider their EV mandate, citing a lack of demand from consumers. Today, with the passage of the CARS Act, the House showed we’re listening,” said Walberg.

MY24 Chevrolet Equinox EV 3LT charging port

If passed into law, the CARS Act would prohibit the EPA from finalizing proposed federal emissions standards for light- and medium-duty vehicles for model years 2027 to 2032. The CARS Act also prevents future EPA emissions regulations that would mandate certain technologies or limit the availability of vehicles based on engine type.

“Thousands of small businesses and their employees will be adversely impacted by this proposal’s overly aggressive push to electrify America’s automotive sector,” said SEMA president and CEO Mike Spagnola. “There are many options on the road to zero emissions. American-grown biofuels, carbon capture and innovations in engine production are all aimed at this shared goal.”

U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Pete Ricketts (R-Nebraska) have introduced a bipartisan companion version of the CARS Act in the Senate. The bill has 33 co-sponsors and awaits consideration in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Smog test tailpipe probe
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Not everyone supports neutering the EPA’s ability to lessen the impact of motor vehicles. “Tailpipe pollution causes tens of thousands of premature deaths nationwide each year, especially in communities of color,” said Chelsea Hodgkins, senior zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) advocate with Public Citizen’s Climate Program. “EPA must uphold its commitment to environmental justice this year by issuing the strongest clean car standards.”

The White House issued a statement saying it “strongly opposes” the CARS act, and if the president is presented with the bill, “he would veto it.”

“We’re grateful to the Biden Administration for opposing this ridiculous attempt by House Republicans to block important climate and clean air safeguards for the American public,” said Sierra Club Legislative Director Melinda Pierce. “Our communities are suffering from poor air quality and worsening climate impacts—pollution from our cars and trucks is a major contributor to both.

“The White House and the EPA rightfully see electrifying vehicles—among other clean transportation priorities like expanding transit and investing in infrastructure for safer streets—as central to tackling the climate crisis and protecting public health. The EPA’s clean car standards can deliver massive benefits to local communities, while saving people money on gas.”




Check out the Hagerty Media homepage so you don’t miss a single story, or better yet, bookmark it. To get our best stories delivered right to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletters

Click below for more about
Read next Up next: 2024 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona competitors get a shakedown run


    I want to be the first go thank Hagerty for posting this. I have been pushing for more info that is important to ICE collector car owners.

    There are more stories legislation that needs to be reported and supported. Keep up the good work.

    Mandating consumer behavior & buying decisions via legislation is a fool’s errand. In a country with a population of over 370 million, one size (mandate/law) cannot possibly fit all (actual needs). There’s simply too much variety & too many different situations to cope with. Let the market decide the pace of change. It’ll all work out in the end. ICE vehicles will never disappear completely because electrification simply isn’t practical or economical in certain geographical areas. But then, Washington bureaucrats have never fully understood the real world.

    Unsurprising, but disappointing that people still haven’t come to their senses, EVs don’t save anyone money on gas when they need to spend even more on electricity, to many people in DC that need to be gone, but glad at least the house is listening

    Between the strip mining for ‘precious metals’, the non-recyclable windmill blades, the vast amount of “fossil fuels” needed to mine, refine, ship and produce the metals, plastics, and fiberglass to make the cars and the charging infrastructure, not to mention the environmental damage caused by huge fields of solar panels and wind farms, even a small amount of common sense shows you the EV push is at best a shell game and only relocates pollution, but more likely actually increases it, and does nothing to change the temperature of the planet.

    You forgot to mention that 80% of world electricity production is via fossil fuel and that manufacture of solar panels create more greenhouse gas than they reduce.

    Science dictates that there is no such animal as green energy!!

    Good. I have a V6 Challenger. Gets over 330 miles per tank. Why the hell would I pay all the money to buy an electric vehicle, install a charger, pay more for my electric bill, wait too long for it to charge, get worse range, depreciate faster to the point of worthlessness and not have it survive as long? Not to mention they eat tires.

    EVs are also heavier vehicles which cause more wear and tear on roads. Currently EVs do not contribute tax dollars to the Federal Highway Trust Fund.

    While we need less pollution and C02 emissions, we don’t need more government mandates. Incentives, maybe. The bill is not too likely to meet success in the House, sadly.

    2032 is 8 years away. There’s tons of research going on in various technologies for powering vehicles, not just electric. Vast improvements in battery technology, hydrogen, biofuels, solar panels and others that may come viable before then. The technology today is only a starting point so don’t give up the pursuit of a cleaner future based on that. It’s also a carrot and stick approach to entice the development of new technologies. If there’s no mandates for change the car companies wouldn’t put the required emphasis on developing the cars of the future. We as owners of classic cars should be concerned about laws that restrict our enjoyment of them.

    No one has addressed the gorilla in the room… The cause of all these environmental issues is that there are too many people on the planet!!

    Spark. I am impressed with you knowing there is too many people on this planet. I am surprised that no one else seems to know that all this EPA crap is only a possible band aid on a problem, that will only be a temporary fix, since no population limit legislation is ever discussed by our government. The more people there are the faster the earth is polluted.

    Spark and Chuck, gentlemen, move to the head of the class. But do not hold your breath waiting for the others.

    I would guess the same complaining happened when seatbelts came along, when emissions laws came into being due to atrocious air quality from industry and vehicles, when the Erie river was on fire and smog and acid rain were off the charts, when lead in fuel was retired (guessing less brain damaged kids is a good thing), when fuel injection and catalytic converters came into being to meet emissions laws, that so happened to give us 760 horsepower cars with 20mpg, that 180 countries around the world are completely freaked out about climate change (as well as about 60 or 70% of Americans) that the usa with 3 % of the world population contributes over 10%, maybe 15% of world emission pollution, that fossil fuels (oil and natural gas) proven reserves will deplete by 2065 (so we’ll say 2100 to be safe), that EV’s are cleaner by 30% cradle to grave than ICE, that EV’s use mostly renewable fuels (here in Texas, yep Texas, 41% of our electricity is renewable (wind, solar, nuclear), so at 100mpg equivalent, are pretty much a good thing(at 3.6 seconds to 60 just loafing), all to meet emissions standards the world is pleading for that are no different than the 3 or 4 previous emissions standards that managed to get us to a fleet average mpg of over 35mpg. There is not a mandate, just an emissions change that might just be helping. Could be EV’s, hydrogen, could be ICE. This is not a political issue, it is an existential issue that your grandchildren, and theirs, and theirs, will be really glad was addressed. Think about them for a minute. Think down the road. Or saddle up your horse and complain about ICE. Probably when you were born there were 2 or 3 billions people. Now there is 8 billion going on 10 billion. Could end up with a bigger mess if applications of available technology don’t happen along the way. By the way, I’m a hotrodder. I’ll run piston count with most anybody. Happy Holidays.

    “(here in Texas, yep Texas, 41% of our electricity is renewable (wind, solar, nuclear),” My daughter lives in Austin, Texas, where the electric providers have been warning of rolling blackouts due to insufficient amounts of electricity in the event of a winter freeze as has happened in recent years. I have traveled internationally extensively and can recall “rolling blackouts” in third world countries I was visiting. One was three days in equatorial Africa with no running water and no A/C in my hotel. Misery. Perhaps, on the other hand, our suffering these inconveniences will mean fewer ones for our children, grandchildren, etc. But, not zero. Your allusion to planetary population explosion is the real culprit. Anything we do will be overcome by increases in population. Many countries are bemoaning their birth rates being lower than needed to preserve their populations. Perhaps that is actually a good thing.

    Yeah…Texas refuses to join the rest of the U.S. power grid for purely political reason. Texas gets, or doesn’t get, exactly what they deserve.

    Jeff + Casida, it i s a good thing, and our only hope. Every nation with declining birthrate enjoys higher per capita GDP.

    On paper EV’s “could” be good for the enviroment but there are several things to consider. Specifically regarding vintage cars.
    -The carbon footprint already exists for the older vehicle. No need for a new one
    -Classic cars are generally well tuned and are not driven as often.
    -Tradional steel bodied cars will eventually crumble to dust and return to the earth
    -Plastic bodied EV’s will last forever and I doubt are recycleable. The only thing I know they make out of recycled plastic are recycling bins, which are not recycleable.
    -And finally, I’m pretty sure that all that black billowing smoke from a spontaneously burning EV by the side of the road can’t be good for the enviroment.

    Thought I might make a quick correction before I get scorched. Didn’t mean to state EV’s use mostly renewable fuels (mine do; we have solar panels, charge car (drive 15-20k per year) run pool, ac’s, yada yada) and monthly bill is around $50. Love the sun. Anyway, the percent of renewable in your electricity is double digits (29% globally) (and likely higher than listed in USA but hydro and nuclear are often not listed as renewable but likely should be, depends on who did the report). Anyway, energy that is generated from renewable happens again and again with no need to “mine” daily for the resources to replenish it. Doesn’t mean systems, like wells, don’t need replacing every 20 or 30 years. Interestingly, renewables are now, ” with the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) for solar PV 29% lower than the cheapest fossil fuel alternative.” Something to keep in mind for the budget minded.

    Solar panels are no more or less renewable than oil. They last around 20 years and need replacement. It takes a solar panel on the average 6 years to produce the electricity it took to make it.

    Then over the course of their lifetimes, doesn’t that mean that solar panels produce three and half times as much electricity as it took to make them? Thanks for positive review of solar energy!

    I hate to be a pessimist and this is a great first step, BUT, it must pass the Senate where they, well, let’s just say, I don’t believe the majority probably won’t be on board with this bill and then it must be signed into law by the person who is trying to force us into buying the unreliable EVs that we don’t want.

    There’s a car fire roughly every five minutes in America. The vast majority of them never make the news. But if a Tesla or a Chevy Bolt catches fire? It’s probably on the front page nationwide and going viral online. If the sensational headlines and social media videos are to be believed, EVs are flaming deathtraps that could spontaneously combust at any minute.

    From Motortrend, July 2023:
    EVs are new and different, and their fires pose some different challenges for first responders, so some coverage makes sense; we ourselves cover unusual or noteworthy instances. But if electric vehicles are no more likely to catch fire than any other car on the road, the headline frequency can be misleading. In fact, the data says they account for a tiny fraction of all car fires.
    The Swedish authorities, however, are keeping track. The Myndigheten för Samhällsskydd och Beredskap (MSB, or Authority for Social Protection and Preparedness) recently released the first report of its kind specifically tracking EV fires in Sweden and comparing them to combustion-powered vehicle fires and the results are clear: EVs are much less likely to catch fire.

    Per the MSB, just 29 EVs and 52 hybrids caught fire in Sweden between 2018 and 2022. On average, 16 vehicles powered by batteries (EVs and hybrids combined) catch fire there each year. On average, 3,400 passenger vehicles catch fire each year in Sweden, meaning EVs account for 0.4 percent of all passenger vehicle fires there annually. Hybrids account for 1.5 percent, for a combined total of 1.9 percent of all passenger vehicle fires.

    Put another way, gas- and diesel-powered cars account for 98.1 percent of all passenger vehicle fires in Sweden each year on average.
    Combustion-Powered Vehicles Are 29 Times More Likely To Catch Fire
    According to MSB data, there are nearly 611,000 EVs and hybrids in Sweden as of 2022. With an average of 16 EV and hybrid fires per year, there’s a 1 in 38,000 chance of fire. There are a total of roughly 4.4 million gas- and diesel-powered passenger vehicles in Sweden, with an average of 3,384 fires per year, for a 1 in 1,300 chance of fire. That means gas- and diesel-powered passenger vehicles are 29 times more likely to catch fire than EVs and hybrids.

    The Problem Isn’t Getting Worse
    With more and more EVs, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) being sold every year, it’s reasonable to wonder whether that rate of fires in those cars will increase. The MSB study found that after a rise in fires from 2019 to 2020, the rate is basically unchanged over the past 3 years with 20 EV and hybrid fires in 2020, 24 fires in 2021, and 23 fires in 2022. In that same time period, the MSB reports the number of EVs in Sweden has more than doubled to nearly 611,000. Prior to 2020, fewer EVs and hybrids caught fire with 8 in 2018 and 6 in 2019.
    EV Fires Are Harder To Put Out
    It’s true that car fires involving vehicles with lithium-ion batteries must be handled differently than other car fires both because of the risk of high-voltage electrical shock and the way lithium-ion batteries burn. When extremely overheated, lithium-ion batteries experience what’s called thermal runaway, a chemical process that isn’t as easily extinguished as a gasoline fire in part because it doesn’t require oxygen. They also carry a higher likelihood of reigniting after the fire is believed to be extinguished.

    Because of this, it can take far more water to put out a fire with a lithium-ion battery than a typical car fire. Automakers who have supplied guidelines to the NFPA generally suggest 3,000 gallons of water or more to put out an EV fire.

    In the meantime, many fire departments are issuing much simpler guidance: If an EV battery is on fire and there’s minimal risk of the fire spreading to other vehicles, structures, or the environment, just let it burn itself out. The International Association of Fire Chiefs recommends “consideration and tactics [that] may be categorized in offensive or defensive mode. This may be based on exposures and the extent of fire which may include actions to let the vehicle burn.” The city of Phoenix, Arizona, suggests in its official handbook “once life safety has been addressed, fire companies should determine if they should suppress the fire or simply allow the vehicle to burn … once the batteries have gone into thermal runaway, we understand that the vehicle is most likely a total loss. Control efforts must consider life safety, property conservation, exposure protection, environmental protection, and firefighter safety.”

    Do the Math
    The simple fact is we’ve had gas- and diesel-powered vehicles for more than 120 years, and they’ve been catching fire since day one. We’re used to it. We’ve accepted it as a fact of life and we’ve done our best to make them safer while devising better ways to put them out. EVs seem new and different, but EVs have existed for nearly as long—they just haven’t been this popular in a century. EV sales are now growing so fast they’ll be just as unremarkable as every other car on the road sooner rather than later. So, too, will be EV fires.

    As the lawmakers said, there is more than one way to reduce emissions, and mandating one to the detriment of research in others is putting all the proverbial eggs in one basket. Glad to see the legislators putting up this fight. They are supporting emission reduction in a consumer friendly way. I am curious how the one opponent quoted in the article figures emissions adversely impact communities of color more? Do they think the pollution is racist and settles more densely there? Perhaps they are overlooking the obvious, that minorities are more concentrated in cities, which due to urban density have more air quality issues. So, the pollution isn’t per se adversely impacting them more, the culprit is urban density and population distribution.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *