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POLITICO: ‘Biden’s sweeping green vision crashes into reality’ – ‘Slowing EV sales, anxious union workers are complicating ‘ambitious climate policies’

President Joe Biden’s hopes for an electric-car takeover of America’s highways are running into speed bumps — amid weaker-than-expected sales and uncertainty over how the green agenda is playing in the crucial swing state of Michigan.

And now his regulators are poised to ease back the throttle, three people familiar with the administration’s internal deliberations told POLITICO.

The Environmental Protection Agency is leaning toward approving a compromise regulation on car and truck pollution that could slow the initial pace of the required cuts compared with a draft proposal the administration released last year, the three people said. The change could mean that for the rest of this decade, electric vehicle sales would climb more incrementally than EPA had originally projected.

But the cuts — and expected EV sales — would accelerate after 2030. By 2032, more than two-thirds of new cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. would be electric, just as the agency had projected last year.

The revised approach could lessen the transition’s economic angst for the industry, auto workers and consumers, though potentially at the cost of allowing hundreds of millions more tons of planet-warming carbon dioxide pollution to enter the atmosphere. The end result would still be a revolutionary change for a country where fully electric vehicles made up just 9 percent of new car and truck sales last year.

The expected pivot underscores the challenges Biden faces in navigating the sometimes clashing demands of key constituencies he’ll need on his side in November, including green activists and organized labor — while trying to engineer a historic shift in one of the United States’ most important industries. The outcome of the debate is especially urgent in Michigan, a state where the president’s political difficulties have grown because of Arab Americans’ anger over his policies on the war in Gaza.

Another person familiar with the administration’s planning, who did not share details of the proposal’s contents, said the final rule is expected next month. The people describing the potential revisions were granted anonymity to discuss an ongoing rule process and private conversations with the administration. The New York Times first reported on Saturday that the EPA intended to relax its proposed vehicle pollution rules.