Biden’s ‘EVolution’: A Race Against Consumer Choice? – by Brigham McCown (The Messenger – August 22, 2023)

Brigham McCown is a senior fellow and director of the Initiative on American Energy Security at Hudson Institute and a professor at Miami University.

The Biden administration has taken significant executive actions this summer to address what it perceives as an urgent climate crisis. In rapid succession, it announced major regulatory initiatives by the Environmental Protection Agency to cut power plant greenhouse gas emissions and one drastically curtailing vehicle tailpipe emissions.

Across the Mall, the Department of Energy was planning additional efficiency standards to wean Americans from natural gas furnaces. In an about-face, the Biden Department of Justice suddenly announced its support for a limited federal role in energy by asking the 9th Circuit of Appeals to rehear a prior case in which it said that Berkeley, California’s decision to ban gas stoves was preempted by federal law.

These events should be troubling as the administration seems willing to cast aside established regulatory and legal principles in favor of political expediency. While each is troubling, consumers should pay particular attention to the innocuously named tailpipe emission standard.

Over time both Republican and Democratic administrations have sought to improve mileage while simultaneously reducing emissions. Gone are the days of leaded gasoline and high-sulfur diesel. Emissions equipment and catalytic converters are the norm, but this isn’t that kind of rule.

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