EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans are expected to force a floor vote on a stand-alone bill that would effectively prohibit California and other Democrat-led states from implementing planned electric vehicle (EV) mandates.
The House is set to vote on the so-called Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act — authored by Rep. John Joyce, R-Pa., and introduced in March — on Thursday. The legislation, if enacted, would block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from issuing waivers to states seeking to ban or limit internal combustion engine vehicles.
“The simple fact is that electric vehicles cannot meet the demands of my constituents,” Joyce told Fox News Digital in an interview Monday. “Coupling the mountains with the harsh winters and the intense heat of summers makes driving an electric vehicle both unreliable and ultimately unrealistic for many of my constituents.”
“This legislation, H.R. 1435, is an option. It is not an anti-electric vehicle legislation,” he added. “For those who would like an electric vehicle, they should have the option of buying one. But it doesn’t help my constituents — it doesn’t help in any district to require an individual to buy an EV regardless of what they want and regardless of the demands of the market.”
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Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is currently empowered to grant California a waiver to implement stricter emissions standards than the federal government.
In March 2022, the EPA reinstated California’s authority under the Clean Air Act to implement its own emission standards and EV sales mandates, and allowed other states to adopt California’s rules. The move came after the Trump administration revoked the state’s authority to pursue standards that run counter to federal rules.
Months later, on Aug. 25, 2022, the California Air Resources Board, a state environmental agency, announced new regulations banning gas-powered cars, and mandating electric cars, by 2035. California Gov. Gavin Newsom celebrated the regulations, saying the state would continue to “lead the revolution towards our zero-emission transportation future.”
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In addition, another 17 states have laws in place that tether their vehicle emissions standards to those set in California, meaning the electric vehicle mandate would impact tens of millions of Americans nationwide. Overall, it is estimated that the states adopting California’s 2035 rule represent more than 40% of total U.S. car purchases.
Joyce’s legislation, which was co-sponsored by Reps. Bob Latta, R-Ohio; Jay Obernolte, R-Calif.; and Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., amends federal law to block attempts to ban gas-powered vehicle sales. It was introduced in response to California’s EV mandate last year.
“Voting against H.R. 1435 is essentially a vote to ban gas powered cars,” Joyce told Fox News Digital. “My hope is that this legislation passes with a bipartisan majority and that we show, from Congress, and that the American people hear loud and clear that we are committed to serving them and not serving them with mandates.
“Consumer choice needs to be protected, and H.R. 1435 will do that.”
The legislation was ultimately passed out of the Energy and Commerce Committee in late July, teeing up the floor vote this week. Companion legislation in the Senate was introduced by Sen. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., a month prior and is still making its way through the chamber.
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In addition, energy industry groups have supported the bill, arguing EV mandates would harm American consumers.
“Every American should be able to choose the type of car or truck they want to drive,” American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers President and CEO Chet Thompson said in March, endorsing Joyce’s bill.
“Restricting consumer choice by eliminating competition and banning entire vehicle power trains is the wrong path to achieving cleaner transportation or supporting U.S. energy security; in fact, it could undercut both,” Thompson continued. “Liquid fuels are an irreplaceable part of meeting future energy demand and will play an important role in reducing the carbon intensity of transportation.”