Electric Vehicle Policy Only Gets Brief Mention in State of the Union Address Potentially Signaling Transition Slowdown

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President Biden recently made a bold declaration regarding climate action, stating, “I’m taking the most significant action ever on climate in the history of the world. I’m cutting our carbon emissions in half by 2030.” However, his emphasis on this ambitious goal overshadowed his administration’s objective of constructing 500,000 public electric vehicle (EV) chargers.

As Biden seeks re-election, he confronts a multitude of pressing issues dividing American voters. These include international conflicts such as the Israel-Hamas war and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as domestic challenges like the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and concerns regarding competition with China.

In the midst of a pivotal election year, Biden is preparing for a potential rematch with former President Donald Trump, who is widely expected to be the GOP nominee after Republican challenger Nikki Haley withdrew her presidential campaign.

Contentious debates around trade, labor, and environmental policies, particularly those affecting the transition to electric vehicles in the United States, have reignited conflicts between the two former presidents. Trump has been vocal in his criticism of Biden’s EV policies, particularly the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to significantly reduce emissions from model-year cars and light trucks between 2027 and 2032. He argues that such regulations would result in the loss of thousands of auto jobs, benefit China, and harm the U.S. auto industry.

Experts suspect that there are signals of a slowdown in the transition to EVs as issues continue to divide Americans on adoption of EVs. With no significant mentions of EVs during the State of the Union address, pundits and the general public wonder if the transition to EVs remains a priority or will continue on a strong pace, especially with manufacturers voicing their recent opinions and the EPA recently revising regulation to soften tailpipe emission rules through 2030.

Also, during his recent address, Biden dedicated a portion of his speech to express his support for autoworkers, praising UAW President Shawn Fain as “a great friend and a great labor leader.” Fain was among the esteemed guests at the president’s address, underscoring the administration’s commitment to labor issues.

Biden’s endorsement by the UAW in January provided a significant boost to his re-election campaign. He has positioned himself as the “most pro-union president in history,” aiming to maintain support among working-class voters, particularly in key battleground states like Michigan and Pennsylvania, which narrowly shifted their support from Trump to Biden in the 2020 election.

Despite the UAW’s endorsement, the union has urged caution regarding the pace of EV adoption due to potential impacts on union jobs. However, it remains critical of Trump, accusing him of favoring the “billionaire class” and adopting policies detrimental to labor interests.

Source: Automotive News (subscription required)


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