The Biden administration has finalized a slate of highly-anticipated environmental regulations curbing gas-powered vehicle tailpipe emissions as part of its broader efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat global warming.

In a joint announcement Wednesday, the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled the most aggressive multi-pollutant emission standards ever finalized. While the regulations target gas-powered vehicles, they are explicitly designed to push wider nationwide adoption of electric vehicles (EV) and, according to officials, are expected to ensure nearly 70% of all new car sales are zero-emissions within a few years.

"President Biden is investing in America, in our workers, and in the unions that built our middle class and established the U.S. auto sector as a leader in the world," White House national climate adviser Ali Zaidi said in a statement. "The President’s agenda is working."

"With transportation as the largest source of U.S. climate emissions, these strongest-ever pollution standards for cars solidify America’s leadership in building a clean transportation future and creating good-paying American jobs, all while advancing President Biden’s historic climate agenda," added EPA administrator Michael Regan.


President Biden, left, and Environmental Protection Agency administrator Michael Regan.

President Biden, left, and Environmental Protection Agency administrator Michael Regan. (Getty Images)

Under the new regulations, which will be formally announced at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., later on Wednesday afternoon, automakers will be forced to rapidly curb the emissions of greenhouse gases, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter from new passenger cars, light trucks, and larger pickups and vans beginning with model year 2027 vehicles.

According to administration officials, the regulations will help "tackle the climate crisis" by reducing the transportation sector's carbon dioxide emissions by a staggering 7.2 billion metric tons over the course of the program, which will be in effect through 2032. Officials also told reporters on a press call that the regulations would reduce the amount of oil consumed in the U.S. by billions of barrels within three decades.


When the tailpipe emissions rules kick in, automakers will be compelled to increase production and sales of EVs, plug-in hybrids, traditional hybrids and fuel cell vehicles. Under one "low cost" model EPA outlined in the rule, officials said automakers would be forced to ensure 56% of light-duty car sales are battery electric and another 13% are hybrid by 2032.

The regulations represent a version of the so-called "alternative C" approach detailed in EPA's original proposal first publicized in April 2023. The White House originally projected last year that, under the rule, up to 67% of new vehicle sales would be battery electric by 2032, but after a lengthy public comment period and meetings with automakers and labor groups, it scaled down the regulations.

President Biden previously set a goal of ensuring 50% of car purchases are electric by 2030. The White House said EPA's recent tailpipe rules would provide a "clear pathway for a continued rise in EV sales."

President Biden said Wednesday that the EPA's regulations ensure the nation meets his goal that 50% of all new car sales are electric by 2030. (Anna Moneymaker/Pool/Getty Images | Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

"Three years ago, I set an ambitious target: that half of all new cars and trucks sold in 2030 would be zero-emission," President Biden said in a statement. "I brought together American automakers. I brought together American autoworkers. Together, we’ve made historic progress. Hundreds of new expanded factories across the country. Hundreds of billions in private investment and thousands of good-paying union jobs. And we’ll meet my goal for 2030 and race forward in the years ahead."

While the EPA rule represents a scaled down version of what the agency proposed last year, especially in the early years of the regulations, industry groups and Republican lawmakers said the end result would remain unchanged. They argue the regulations reduce consumer choice and will lead to higher costs across the board.


In a joint statement on Wednesday, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers President and CEO Chet Thompson and American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Mike Sommers called on Congress to intervene and block the plan.

"At a time when millions of Americans are struggling with high costs and inflation, the Biden administration has finalized a regulation that will unequivocally eliminate most new gas cars and traditional hybrids from the U.S. market in less than a decade," they said. "As much as the President and EPA claim to have ‘eased’ their approach, nothing could be further from the truth."

"This regulation will make new gas-powered vehicles unavailable or prohibitively expensive for most Americans," the two industry leaders continued. "For them, this wildly unpopular policy is going to feel and function like a ban."

Charging station

Even factoring in generous federal and state subsidies, the average cost of an EV is about $52,500, according to the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, while the average gas subcompact car costs $24,000. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

In addition to energy groups, a wide slate of industry groups representing farmers, consumers and auto dealers have similarly warned of the consequences of the EPA's regulations. 

"This decision will not only severely hamper the administration’s ability to reach its own climate goals, but it will also hurt family farms and rural communities that rely heavily on the sale of biofuels. On top of that, it will remove consumer choice from the market," said National Corn Growers Association President Harold Wolle.


According to the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, an industry group that represents major automakers, 9.3% of total car purchases in the U.S. last year were electric or plug-in hybrids — up from 7% in 2022. That uptick was driven largely by purchases in California and urban areas where the majority of EV purchases are made. 

At the same time, EVs remain far more expensive than traditional, gas-powered cars. Even factoring in generous federal and state subsidies, the average cost of an EV is about $52,500, while the average subcompact car costs $24,000.

Reps. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., (left), and Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., (right) introduced the CARS Act on Thursday.

Reps. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., left, and Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., introduced the Choice in Automobile Retail Sales Act in July. The bill was passed on a bipartisan vote in December. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images | Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Alliance for Automotive Innovation President and CEO John Bozzella noted Wednesday that, while the EPA's adjusted EV targets are "still a stretch goal," they were more reasonable than the ones first proposed. 

"Moderating the pace of EV adoption in 2027, 2028, 2029 and 2030 was the right call because it prioritizes more reasonable electrification targets in the next few years of the EV transition," he said.


Additionally, a wide range of Republican lawmakers immediately blasted the regulations and vowed to take action to overturn them before they are implemented.

"The Biden administration’s approval of an EPA rule that essentially forces Americans to buy electric vehicles is just another example of the president’s reckless and misinformed regulatory agenda," Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, told Fox News Digital. "I strongly urge President Biden to reverse this misguided decision and allow American families to decide which vehicle is best for them. The free market — not government mandates — must prevail."

Randy Feenstra pointing as he speaks

Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, recently led a letter of more than 130 Republican lawmakers calling on the Biden administration to back off EV mandates. (Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images)

Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., who, along with Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., introduced the Choice in Automobile Retail Sales Act in July, also ripped the regulations. The CARS Act, which would nix EPA's tailpipe regulations, passed in a House vote of 221-197 in December, but it has yet to receive a Senate floor vote.

"Top-down government edicts cannot change the demand of consumers overnight, yet this is exactly the Biden administration's plan," said Walberg. "This rule restricts the choices of American consumers and will price millions out of the market, eliminate American jobs, and forever link our auto industry with the Chinese Communist Party."


Additionally, Sens. Pete Ricketts, R-Neb., and Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, both members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, vowed to introduce new resolutions blocking the regulations finalized Wednesday. They said in a joint statement that the plan is "delusional" and would require an act of Congress to move forward.