The EPA and DOT Rules Will Fuel Job Growth

Electrify America Charging Station
 Credit: Roberto Baldwin/SAE


The recent release of the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation's finalized rules for vehicle sales hit the news with some concern that the reduction in EV sales required by 2032 would undercut the move to a more sustainable world. The reality is a bit more nuanced. 

In the proposed rule shared in 2023, by 2032, 67 percent of new car sales had to be electric. There was pushback from automakers and the United Auto Workers union. Concerns around supply chains, roll-outs, and adjustments in EV roadmaps were the main reasons for the outcry. 

Some automakers have had issues with their electric vehicle plans. While some have found the market to be far more competitive than anticipated, others have had issues with manufacturing. Meanwhile, 2023 was EV automaker Tesla's best sales year ever with 1.81 million vehicles delivered and 1.85 million vehicles produced. 

The desire for electric vehicles is there and continues to grow, the domestic market saw 41 percent year-over-year increase in January 2024 versus the same month in 2023. Trying to find anything else in the automotive world with that type of growth is difficult if not impossible. 

Research firm, Bloomberg NEF sees global electrified vehicle sales increasing 21 percent in 2024 to 16.7 million vehicles with 71 percent of those being electric. In the United States, the BNEF prediction is that in 2024, EVs will account for 13 percent of new car sales with approx 1.9 million electric vehicles sold. 

In 2020, EVs accounted for 1.8 percent of the new car sales. By 2023, that number jumped to 7.6 percent. If it hits the predicted 13 percent by the end of 2024, that's a huge jump that requires more battery manufacturing, more production lines, and more charging stations. 

So why the pushback? Transitioning to electric vehicles is expensive. Automakers are pouring billions of dollars into research, new facilities, and getting their huge employee bases up to speed. With that type of money being spent, it's understandable that there is concern about aggressive adoption numbers. 

The new EPA rule (you can read all 1,181 pages here) now targets automaker sales in 2032 of 35 percent to 56 percent for EVs in 2032, and 13 percent to 36 percent for plug-in hybrids (PHEV). The rise of the PHEV has been slow but steady. Drivers plug in their vehicles at night and have about 30-40 miles of electric-only range before the gas engine kicks in. It's a compromise for those concerned about the charging infrastructure or typically use their vehicles for tasks like heavy towing or hauling. 

While the drop of pure EVs from 67% to as low as 35% seems like a huge concession, the PHEVs that will fill that gap still require batteries, electric motors, home charging stations, and cables. 

Those looking at sustainable careers shouldn't be concerned. The jobs needed for EVs will be needed for PHEVs and within every regulatory mandate there are always the companies that go above and beyond to capture some of the excitement around a technology and create brand loyalty amongst drivers. If you're driving an EV from a company and you enjoy it, you're likely to stick with that company in the future as the technology evolves. 

Regardless of the mix of vehicles, the White House announced the most important piece of information about the new rules: the mandates will avoid 7.2 billion tons of CO2 emissions through 2055. For a cleaner world, that's a huge step in the right direction. 

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