Clean Energy Canada | New U.S. tailpipe regulations are a turning point on North America’s EV journey—but Canada must still take the wheel on its own rules
April 12, 2023
TORONTO — Ekta Bibra, senior policy advisor at Clean Energy Canada, made the following statement in response to the U.S.’s proposed new light duty vehicle standards:
“With EV sales shattering records around the world, it’s clear we’re en route to a new electric age. The new proposed regulations from the U.S. show that our closest neighbour, and the world’s second-largest auto market, is going all in on this electric future.
“Indeed, while Canada has had stronger EV policies than the U.S. to date, the proposed U.S. regulations are, in some ways, even more ambitious than Canada’s. And because our regulations are currently tied to the U.S., the new rules would automatically apply here too.
“The new American standards project that 60% of vehicles sold by the end of the decade would be pure battery-electric, while Canada’s recently proposed regulated sales targets for zero-emission vehicles include plug-in hybrids in the equivalent 60% sales target. The U.S. rules also introduce stricter tailpipe emissions standards on medium-duty commercial vehicles (like vans and pickups)—something that Canada has yet to implement.
“While it’s encouraging to see a more unified North American approach to electric transportation, it is vital that Canada continues to implement—and strengthen—its own regulations. Should a future U.S. government roll back these tailpipe pollution limits (as happened during the Trump administration), Canada would lose its EV policy seatbelt. Canada is its own country, and it should not be beholden to voters in another jurisdiction for its policy decisions, especially when it could impact Canadians’ access to cost-saving EVs.
“Canada’s own proposed rules, which focus on EV sales rather than tailpipe emissions, also provide more policy certainty while still offering automakers a range of pathways to eventually reaching 100% EV sales in 2035. Research has shown that this policy approach helps drive down EV sticker prices while encouraging carmakers to make a broader range of EV models available to buy. Canada must now focus on implementing these regulations quickly.
“Rigorous zero-emission vehicle policies both north and south of the border are a key component in guaranteeing the market for Canadian-made EVs. Canada’s EV battery supply chain could support up to 250,000 jobs by 2030 and add $48 billion to the Canadian economy annually.
“While the new U.S. rules are undoubtedly great news for prospective EV drivers across North America, Canada must still keep a hand on the wheel to safeguard our cleaner, cost-saving electric future.”
- The proposed U.S. rules comprise a fleet emissions average standard which requires that automakers’ fleets adhere to increasingly strict average tailpipe emissions. Annually, as the rules become more stringent, automakers will be forced to sell a greater share of zero-emission vehicles within their fleet as that would be the most reasonable way to meet that year’s fleet emissions average.
- The Environmental Protection Agency projects that this would be equivalent to 36% battery-electric sales (not including sales of plug-in hybrids) in 2027, 60% in 2030 and 67% in 2032 (when the regulations end). For medium-duty vehicles it is projected to be 34% by 2030 and 46% by 2032.
- Canada’s proposed regulated sales targets for zero-emission vehicles would require zero-emission vehicles (including plug-in hybrids), to make up 60% of vehicle sales by 2030 and 100% by 2035.
- Transportation makes up a quarter of Canada’s carbon pollution.
- Quebec, B.C., and California all use regulated zero-emission vehicle sales targets to enforce EV sales requirements, all en route to 100% ZEV sales by 2035. Since California enacted its regulated zero-emission vehicle sales targets, 15 other states have followed suit.
- A recent Clean Energy Canada poll indicated that the majority (58%) of Canadians are inclined to buy an EV for their next car.
- A study commissioned by Transport Canada found that 82% of dealerships didn’t have any ZEVs in stock in March 2022—and those with stock were concentrated in B.C. and Quebec, the two provinces with zero-emission vehicle mandates.
- A recent analysis by Environmental Defence found that regulations to phase out gas cars by 2035 would cut EV prices by 20% as automakers are forced to sell more affordable models, instead of just luxury EVs, in order to meet their targets.
- Last year, Clean Energy Canada analyzed a number of popular electric car models, comparing their total ownership costs with that of gas equivalents. With just one exception, the electric version of every car analyzed was cheaper, usually significantly so.
- There are set to be 60 times more Canadians employed in EV-related jobs in a net-zero 2050 than in 2025, according to a new Clean Energy Canada report.
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