Oil Industry Sues Biden Administration Over New Emission Rules, Aiming to Halt EV Push

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Key Points:

1: The American Petroleum Institute (API) files a lawsuit against the EPA's new tailpipe emission rules.

2: The rules are designed to increase electric vehicle sales, aiming for 56% of all car sales to be electric by 2030-2032.

3: The lawsuit is supported by the National Corn Growers Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation, which argue the rules ignore the benefits of corn ethanol.

The nation's largest oil trade group, which includes industry giants Exxon Mobil and Chevron, has taken a significant step to challenge the Biden administration’s aggressive environmental policies. On Thursday, the American Petroleum Institute (API) filed a federal lawsuit aimed at blocking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new tailpipe emission rules. These rules are part of the administration’s broader strategy to reduce planet-warming emissions from cars and light trucks and to accelerate the shift towards electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing.

Background of the Emission Rules

In March, the EPA issued stringent new tailpipe emission standards. These regulations are intended to compel automakers in the United States to produce and sell a higher number of electric vehicles to comply with the new environmental standards. According to the EPA’s projections, up to 56% of all car sales in the U.S. will need to be electric between 2030 and 2032 to meet these targets. This ambitious plan aligns with President Joe Biden's broader climate goals, aiming to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.

The API's Response

The American Petroleum Institute, representing the interests of the oil industry, argues that the EPA has overstepped its congressional authority with these new regulations. The API claims that the rules would effectively eliminate the market for new gas-powered cars and traditional hybrids within a decade, posing a substantial threat to the oil industry and associated sectors.

“Today, we are taking action to protect American consumers, U.S. manufacturing workers, and our nation’s hard-won energy security from this intrusive government mandate,” stated API Senior Vice President and General Counsel Ryan Meyers. The lawsuit was filed in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, a legal battleground that will determine the future trajectory of U.S. automotive and environmental policy.

Support from Agricultural Sectors

The lawsuit has garnered support from the National Corn Growers Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation, which have joined API as co-petitioners. These groups have a vested interest in the continuation of gas-powered cars due to their reliance on the corn-ethanol industry. Corn ethanol is a significant component of the fuel industry, and the shift towards electric vehicles threatens this market.

“By approving tailpipe standards that focus exclusively on electric vehicles, EPA has ignored the proven benefits corn ethanol plays in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change,” said Harold Wolle, a Minnesota farmer and President of the National Corn Growers Association.

Broader Legal and Political Context

This lawsuit is not the first legal challenge to the EPA’s new rules. In April, Republican attorneys general from 25 states filed a lawsuit to block the same regulations. The ongoing legal battles reflect the contentious nature of environmental regulation in the U.S., with significant implications for various industries and political landscapes.

The emission regulations are among the most significant environmental rules enacted under President Biden, who has made climate change a cornerstone of his presidency. However, these policies have strained Biden’s relationship with key allies, including the United Auto Workers (UAW), who have expressed concerns over the rapid transition to electric vehicles and its impact on jobs.

In response to backlash from auto workers, the Biden administration revised its initial targets for electric vehicle adoption, yet this compromise has not alleviated the oil industry’s concerns. The oil sector remains apprehensive about the long-term viability of gas-powered vehicles in the face of stringent environmental regulations.

Political Ramifications

For both President Biden and his potential Republican rival, Donald Trump, the transition to electric vehicles and environmental policy will be pivotal issues in the upcoming elections. Industrial states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, where auto manufacturing is a significant industry, will be crucial battlegrounds.

Trump has consistently criticized electric vehicles and has promised to roll back the new tailpipe standards if he returns to office. This promise underscores the political divide over environmental policies and the future of the automotive industry in the U.S.


The API’s lawsuit against the Biden administration’s new emission rules highlights the ongoing struggle between environmental goals and industry interests. As the legal battle unfolds, it will have far-reaching implications for the future of automotive manufacturing, environmental policy, and political dynamics in the United States.

The outcome of this case will not only shape the trajectory of U.S. efforts to combat climate change but also influence the economic landscape for industries reliant on traditional automotive technologies. The decisions made in this legal and political arena will be critical in determining how the U.S. navigates the complex intersection of environmental sustainability and economic growth.

Also Read : G7 Leaders Tackle Ukraine Aid and China’s Economic Power at Annual Summit

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