Schumer pushes for all-electric vehicle future by 2040

Schumer pushes for all-electric vehicle future by 2040
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law | Michigan governor seeks to pause Medicaid work requirements | New front in fight over Medicaid block grants House, Senate Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law Why a second Trump term and a Democratic Congress could be a nightmare scenario for the GOP MORE (D-N.Y.) outlined his vision for boosting the number of electric vehicles on the road, hoping the U.S. will have an all-electric fleet by 2040.

In a Thursday op-ed in The New York Times, Schumer outlined his plan, offering steep discounts for buyers that trade in a gas-powered car for an electric one. The assistance would be even greater for low-income customers. 

ADVERTISEMENT
“Isn’t the transition to electric vehicles already happening?” Schumer wrote. “Yes, but it is progressing too slowly. Transportation still accounts for nearly one-third of America’s carbon output. Even though many American automakers are preparing for an all-electric future, electric vehicles are still too expensive for too many Americans, and our country lacks sufficient battery-charging infrastructure.”

His plan also calls for grants to help states build charging stations across the country, with a focus on low-income and rural areas. 

While Schumer doesn’t spell out what form the assistance for electric vehicle purchases would take, the article does say it would only apply to American-made cars. He estimates that assistance. along with the investment in charging stations and a program to help automakers shift their factories, would require $454 billion over 10 years.

Transportation is the largest sector of carbon pollution in the U.S., according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency, surpassing greenhouse gas emissions from both power plants and industry. 

“If Democrats win control of the Senate in November 2020, I, as majority leader, will introduce bold and far-reaching climate legislation. This proposal for clean cars would be a key element of that bill,” he wrote, saying the U.S. needs to act quickly before losing electric vehicle market share to China. 

Environmental groups have backed the proposal, as have some wings of the auto industry: Ford and General Motors and unions for autoworkers have expressed support.

“Reducing carbon emissions in the United States and around the world is not only a challenge, but a great opportunity to modernize our nation’s infrastructure, reinvigorate domestic manufacturing, and create hundreds of thousands of well-paying, family-supporting union jobs,” Lonnie Stephenson, international president of the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers, said in a statement. 

Schumer’s proposal comes as the Trump administration is battling with automakers and the state of California to roll back both emissions standards and fuel economy goals for vehicles. 

Proposals from the Trump administration would scale back the Obama-era fuel economy standards negotiated with automakers. President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades MORE also tweeted that he would revoke the waiver California uses to set tougher emissions standards. 

California has tried to fight a number of transportation-related cases in court but was dealt a setback Friday as the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a case challenging Trump's tailpipe emissions actions, arguing the case is not ripe since the rule has not been finalized.