Governors call on Biden to back shift to zero-emission cars by 2035

Electric car
An electric car being charged.

A dozen governors are calling on President Biden to put the U.S. on the path to ending the sale of gas-powered cars by 2035 as part of his proposed $2 trillion infrastructure package.

A Wednesday letter from 12 governors including New York’s Andrew Cuomo (D) and California’s Gavin Newsom (D) urged Biden to set regulatory standards phasing out the sale of larger vehicles not powered by renewable sources by 2045, and gas-powered cars 10 years earlier.

The administration should “ensure that all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold are zero-emission no later than 2035 with significant milestones along the way to monitor progress,” reads the letter, which was obtained by The Hill.

Biden’s bill, the governors added, should include “substantial funding for investment in charging and fueling infrastructure” that states have access to.

Their requests, particularly their call to end the sale of gas-powered vehicles in the U.S., would likely face steep Republican opposition. Numerous GOP senators have already also spoken out against provisions in the administration’s infrastructure proposal aimed at shifting the U.S. away from fossil fuels, including existing funding in the bill for electric vehicles.

The Biden administration has maintained that it is open to GOP criticism and alternative suggestions related to the proposal while remaining cagey on which aspects of the bill are up for negotiation.

Officials including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg have also stressed that the White House wants to see significant movement on the bill before Memorial Day.

Republicans are hoping that parliamentary challenges to the bill will force Democrats to pass it through conventional means rather than budget reconciliation measures, thereby requiring a 60-vote threshold in the Senate and likely meaning that the bill would have to be cut down significantly for any chance of GOP support and its eventual passage.

—Updated at 10:37 a.m.

Tags Andrew Cuomo Biden infrastructure California carbon emissions Electric vehicles Gavin Newsom Green vehicles Infrastructure Joe Biden New York Pete Buttigieg Reuters
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