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Latta, Joyce, Bilirakis, Obernolte Lead Effort to Preserve Americans’ Choice in Purchasing Vehicles

Legislation filed in response to California’s proposed internal combustion engine vehicle ban, ensures continued access to affordable and reliable transportation

Washington, March 8, 2023 | Claire Hurley (202-225-6405)
Tags: Energy

Today, U.S. Reps. Bob Latta (R-OH5), John Joyce (R-PA13), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL12), and Jay Obernolte (R-CA23) introduced legislation – the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act – to protect Americans’ freedom of choice when purchasing vehicles. 

On August 25, 2022, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted to place stringent new requirements on automakers that would effectively ban the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) cars and light trucks by 2035 in favor of so-called “zero-emission vehicles” (ZEV), like plug-in hybrid, full battery-electric, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. To proceed with its plans to ban ICE vehicles, California would need a waiver of Clean Air Act preemption provisions from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). CARB has readily admitted that this action will extend beyond its state borders, with 17 other states bound to follow California’s standards. This would constitute 40 percent of the entire nation’s new car sales.

The Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act would restrict the EPA from issuing any waiver for new regulations that would ban the sale or use of new motor vehicles with internal combustion engines. Preserving consumer choice is critical to maintaining competition in the automotive markets and ensuring all Americans have access to reliable and affordable vehicles.

“We have seen time and time again that heavy-handed government intervention – like California’s proposal to ban internal combustion engine vehicles – limits consumer choice and infringes upon Americans’ freedoms when choosing what’s best for themselves and their families,” Latta said. “California’s misguided proposal will have ramifications that go well beyond its own borders and would make it more difficult for Americans to get to work, drop their kids off at school, and travel to visit loved ones. I am pleased to help lead this effort in Congress along with Reps. Joyce, Bilirakis, and Obernolte to help preserve Americans’ choices when it comes to deciding which vehicle they want – and can afford – to drive.”

“California’s discriminatory waiver request would set a costly and dangerous precedent,” Dr. Joyce said. “One state should not be able to set national policy and Americans should not be coerced into making purchases they cannot afford. Congress must immediately pass the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act to stop this heavy-handed proposal that only takes away choices from American consumers.”

“California’s proposal is another example of liberal elitists being detached from the real constraints on the energy grid and the average American consumer,” Bilirakis said. “Last summer we saw California’s energy grid struggle to meet growing energy demands, and these proposed regulations would only exacerbate that strain. With the higher-than-average cost of an EV vehicle, the average Californian might find themselves not only unable to afford a new EV vehicle, but even if they are, potentially unable to keep it reliably charged due to brown or black outs. All Americans should have the freedom to choose which vehicle makes the most sense for their particular circumstances and budgets, and the Californian elite should not be able to set a precedent that could have negative impacts on all Americans.”

“In places like my rural California district where many people commute several hours to work every day just to feed their families, electric vehicles are not only unaffordable, but also impractical – especially when residents are asked to unplug their vehicle chargers to accommodate the state’s failure to produce sufficient electricity,” Obernolte said. “We need a market-based approach that will enable continued competition in the marketplace and push electric vehicles to be better and more affordable while enabling people to make their own choices about what type of car to drive. That is the economic system that our nation was built on, and our government should not be permitted to regulate away that freedom.”


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