By Sabrina Siddiqui and Mike Colias
WASHINGTON—The Biden administration is expected to propose extensive new limits on vehicle tailpipe emissions in a bid to move U.S. auto makers toward majority electric-vehicle sales, according to people familiar with the matter.
The new standards for light-duty vehicles, which are likely to be announced by the Environmental Protection Agency in Detroit next week, are expected to cover model years 2027 to 2032 and include the country’s most stringent curbs on car pollution to date, the people said.
EPA spokeswoman Maria Michalos declined to confirm the details of the proposal, which aren’t yet final. The move would potentially go beyond President Biden’s ambitious target for half of all new vehicle sales to be electric-powered by 2030.
“As directed by the President in an executive order, the EPA is developing new standards that will seize on this historic progress to accelerate the transition to a zero-emissions transportation future, protecting people and the planet,” Ms. Michalos said.
The expected rules were reported earlier by Bloomberg and other news media.
Most major auto makers are racing to change over their vehicle portfolios to electrics. Tougher tailpipe-emissions standards overseas, and the success of EV leader Tesla Inc., have prodded the industry in the direction of battery-powered cars.
Some car companies have even pledged targets similar to those of the Biden administration. In 2021, General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Jeep-maker Stellantis NV jointly voluntarily agreed to target 40-50% of their annual U.S. vehicle sales to be electric by 2030, in line with the administration’s goal at the time.
Still, auto executives and lobbyists have said a big swing to electric cars will partly hinge on factors outside of the industry’s control.
Insufficient availability of public and private EV charging stations and a potential shortage of raw materials such as lithium and nickel needed to produce batteries loom as potential barriers to consumer EV adoption and auto makers’ ability to meet higher sales thresholds.
In a statement this week, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a lobbying group that represents GM, Ford, Toyota Motor Corp. and other major car companies, said it expects the EPA to soon release new emissions rules. The group said it expects the proposed measures to be significantly more stringent than those in place today, but didn’t cite specifics.
Car makers globally have earmarked $1.2 trillion toward electrification and are rapidly rolling out new plug-in models, the group said.
“Even with positive EV sales momentum and product excitement, there are challenges to the electrification transition ahead,” the alliance said. “This requires a massive, 100-year change to the U.S. industrial base and the way Americans drive.”
The group cited a study from consulting firm McKinsey & Co. that said $35 billion in public EV charging stations is needed in the U.S. by 2030.
Industry officials also have dissuaded policy makers from introducing rules that would require car companies to meet higher emissions standards for internal-combustion-engine vehicles, saying it would detract from efforts to roll out more EVs.
“Every dollar invested in internal combustion technology is a dollar not spent on zero-carbon technology,” the lobbying group said.