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Trump Vows to Reverse Biden EV, Auto Emissions Rules – for $1 Billion

by | May 9, 2024

President Donald Trump outlined a series of changes he’ll make to the Biden administration’s policies on EVs and other environmental rules if he wins reelection next November. But the changes he promised during a meeting with oil industry CEOs carries a $1 billion quid pro quo in campaign funds.

Trump at debate

Trump has long opposed new environmental regulations impacting the auto industry.

This November’s presidential election is likely to have a significant impact on a number of environmental policies, something that Republican candidate Donald Trump highlighted during a meeting with petroleum industry CEOs.

The former president, now seeking re-election, said he would reverse a wide range of rules and regulations enacted by his adversary, President Joe Biden, starting with battery-electric vehicle mandates, according to a report by the Washington Post on Thursday.

But Trump also told the oil execs that he expected they demonstrate their support by raising $1 billion to support his presidential campaign, according to unidentified sources “familiar with the meeting last month in Florida.”

Policy differences

The current and former presidents differ widely in their positions on a variety of policies, from abortion rights to immigration. Environmental policies are no exception, Biden modeling his strategy around global warming, which he has called an “existential threat.” Trump refers to climate change as a “hoax.”

Biden at Factory Zero grand opening Nov 2021

Pres. Joe Biden has been a strong proponent of stricter emissions rules and increased EV sales.

Since taking office in 2021, Biden has 27 Trump-era regulations impacting the fossil fuel industry, according to a WaPo analysis, and taken 23 additional actions impacting the industry. Among other things, new drilling has been blocked across 13 million acres in the Alaskan Arctic.

But many of the Trump era rules could be reinstated if he is reelected, the candidate indicated in the meeting with oil leaders. Among other things, he described regulations calling for zero-emission vehicle technologies “ridiculous.”

EVs or not EVs

Whatever happens in November is likely to have a direct impact on the auto industry’s environmental policies During his term in the White House, for example, Trump attempted to roll back Corporate Average Fuel Economy rules enacted by his predecessor, Barack Obama. The proposed revisions to CAFE were delayed by the courts, however, and once in office, Biden actually increased the numbers beyond what had been approved by Obama.

AAA oil refinery pic

Trump would ease a variety of regulations impacting oil drilling and refining.

Biden’s stricter tailpipe emission rules have translated into strong support for battery-electric vehicles. Final rules announced by the Environmental Protection Agency in March did offer automakers a bit more breathing room in the shift to EVs, the new regulations would still result in the industry having to use batteries to power at least two-thirds of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2032.

Based on his position while in office, as well as comments Trump has made during the 2024 election campaign, he would roll back, if not eliminate, EV requirements. He also might, once again, make changes to fuel economy and tailpipe standards if reelected.

More Environmental Auto News

Trump offers a “deal”

Gas Pump

Oil companies hit record earnings last year but stand to increase the numbers by billions with regulatory reductions.

According to sources who attended the meeting in Florida last month, Trump also said he would reverse Biden’s freeze on permits covering new liquified natural gas exports.

The last three years haven’t been entirely without benefit to the industry. Oil companies pumped an average 13 million barrels of crude a day in 2023, an all-time record. And companies including Chevron and ExxonMobil reported all-time high profits.

Still, industry leaders believe they could save billions by eliminating unfavorable regulations and see Trump likely to offer a helping hand – something the GOP candidate stressed during dinner at his Mar-a-Lago resort with an estimated two dozen petro-execs. “You’ll get it on the first day,” he reportedly said about lifting the ban on LNG exports.

But his campaign needs financial support Trump said, noting that $1 billion in financial assistance would be a “deal” considering the payback if he’s elected.

Headaches for the auto industry

Trump Campaigning

In return for a promise of regulatory relief, Trump offered oil execs a “deal,” which would require $1 billion in campaign funds.

Automakers haven’t always been pleased with the Biden administration’s environmental policies. A number of manufacturers, including Toyota and General Motors, backed the CAFE rollback ordered by Trump – though others, including Ford and BMW, did a deal calling for tougher guidelines with the State of California. Most automakers again sought a delay in the EPA’s near to mid-term EV rules, the Biden administration agreeing to a slower adoption rate.

There is, however, one thing the industry wants, even more than reduced governmental control. “Automakers need some degree of regulatory certainty from government,” John Bozzella, president and CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, told the Washington Post in an e-mail.

“What has emerged instead is a wholesale repeal… and then reinstatement… and then repeal again of regulations every four or eight years,” said Bozzella, whose group represents Ford, General Motors, Stellantis, Toyota and other auto manufacturers.

So, even though Trump might seek to reduce the regulatory burden, automakers generally would prefer holding course rather than having to guess as to what rules might be in place in the future. Guessing wrong could be costly and even result in having products that can’t be sold.

1 Comment

  1. Although this is not a political site, I will say this, how much more evidence do we need that Trump is unfit to be President?


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