October 20, 2020

Reps. Mike Levin, Joe Neguse, and Senator Jeff Merkley Introduce Legislation to Transition America to 100% Zero-Emission Vehicles

Washington, D.C.  – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Levin (D-CA) introduced the Zero-Emission Vehicles Act of 2020 with Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR). The bill would position the United States to lead the world in vehicle innovation, combat the climate crisis, and reduce premature deaths caused by the pollution that gasoline engines produce.

Pollution created by gasoline engines is widely understood by the medical community to cause premature deaths and asthma attacks, and may also increase mortality among coronavirus patients. One in 13 Americans live with asthma, and millions of Americans who have had the coronavirus may suffer from long-term respiratory complications. Carbon pollution from cars is also a leading cause of the climate crisis that has been driving catastrophic storms, wildfires, heat waves, and droughts. 

“We are already experiencing devastating effects of the climate crisis in California, but we can still protect our planet for future generations if we take aggressive action now,” said Rep. Levin. “Transitioning to zero-emission vehicles will drastically reduce harmful carbon pollution, improve public health, and create the cleantech jobs of the future right here in America. I’m proud that my home state has embraced cleaner cars – including the ones in my driveway – and reaped the economic rewards. My bill with Senator Merkley and Congressman Neguse will ensure that the rest of the country experiences the same benefits.”

“If we don’t make things in America, we won’t have a middle class in America. And if we don’t save our planet from climate chaos, our entire economy and our nation’s public health will end up in shambles,” said Sen. Merkley. “The whole world, with a few science-denying holdouts in America, recognizes the imperative of ending carbon pollution. By moving aggressively and boldly now, we can help save Americans from the dire health and economic impacts of the climate crisis, and make sure American workers are the ones building the next generation of cars for the world.”

“Investing in zero-emission vehicles is an important part of addressing the climate crisis,” said Congressman Neguse. “By reducing our carbon emissions from transportation, we can drastically decrease our impact on climate change. I am proud to once again join my colleague Congressman Levin in introducing the Zero-Emission Vehicles Act of 2020. This legislation is a critical step to set the country on a course of action in combating the most existential crisis facing our world today.”

The introduction follows the Trump administration’s weakening of auto emission standards and California Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent Executive Order establishing a plan to phase out sales of new gas-powered cars by 2035.

The Zero-Emission Vehicles Act would fix what is currently only a patchwork of state-level policies by setting a Federal Zero-Emissions Vehicle standard to boost the market for battery electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The standard would require that by 2025, 50 percent of sales for new passenger vehicles are ZEVs, and ramp up 5 percent each year to 100 percent by 2035. The ZEV standard would only be applied to the sale of new cars.

The Zero Emission Vehicles Act is cosponsored by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in the Senate, and Representatives Joe Neguse (D-CO), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) in the House.

The full text of the legislation is available here.