Guess which state they come from.
President Joe Biden has placed the advancement of electric vehicles at the top of his agenda. Within days of assuming office in January, he issued the "Buy American" executive order that ordered the federal government to replace its fleet of over 645,000 vehicles with electric vehicles built in the US. Significant transportation infrastructure investments and tax credits are also planned, but this isn't good enough for two US senators.
Reuters reports California's two senators, Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, have sent a letter to Biden calling on him "to follow California's lead and set a date by which all new cars and passenger trucks sold be zero-emission vehicles." Last fall, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed his own executive order on the hood of a Ford Mustang Mach-E declaring the Golden State's ban on combustion-engined new vehicle sales would begin in 2035.
The two senators further request Biden to restore their state's authority to set its own vehicle emissions standards, which was revoked by the EPA during the Trump years.
"We believe the national baseline should, at an absolute minimum, be built around the technical lead set by companies that voluntarily advanced their agreements with California," the senators' letter states. "California and other states need a strong federal partner."
The companies the senators are referring to are Ford, Honda, BMW, and Volkswagen. Those automakers and California made a deal to increase the average fuel economy to 51 mpg by 2026. Thirteen other US states, including the District of Columbia, abide by California's vehicle emissions standards. That comes to over 40 percent of the country's total population and it won't be possible to have two different standards for each half of the country.
A final agreement must therefore be reached and California has made its position clear. So has Big Oil.
The US oil industry began seeking an alliance with America's corn growers and biofuel producers last month to jointly fight Biden's plan. The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers want to stop efforts to provide EV subsidies and reduce the pace of cutting carbon-based emissions. Groups representing corn growers and the biofuel industry claim they're not interested in teaming with oil companies; they want to be in the US government's good graces, like General Motors.
America's largest automaker has already committed to an EV-only future starting in 2035. It has no objections to the senators' demand of Biden.