WASHINGTON, July 29 (Reuters) – The White House has told U.S. automakers it wants them to back a voluntary pledge of at least 40% of new vehicles sales being electric by 2030 as it works to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, sources briefed on the matter said.
The administration is set as early as next week to roll out proposed revisions to vehicle emissions standards through 2026. Sources said a voluntary electric vehicle (EV) target could be as high as 50% but emphasized that no agreement with automakers has been reached and many details remain under discussion, including whether that pledge will include various types of gasoline-electric hybrids.
United Auto Workers spokesman (UAW) Brian Rothenberg said a published report was inaccurate “that we have agreed to 40% EVs by 2030. The UAW is still in discussions and has not reached agreement at this point.” The UAW has opposed EV mandates, warning it could put some jobs at risk.
This month, Stellantis (STLA.MI), parent company of Fiat Chrysler, said it was targeting over 40% of U.S. vehicles be low emission by 2030. Stellantis declined to comment on Thursday.
General Motors Co (GM.N) declined to comment on the talks. It has said it aspires to end sales of new U.S. gasoline-powered light duty vehicles by 2035. The White House declined to comment on the discussions.
Ford Motor Co (F.N) did not comment on the discussions but noted it has said it plans “at least 40% of our global vehicle volume being all-electric by 2030.”
The Biden administration has resisted calls from many Democrats to set a binding target for EV adoption or to follow California in setting 2035 as a date to phase out the sale of new gasoline-powered light duty vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are reviewing former President Donald Trump’s March 2020 rollback of fuel economy standards. Trump required 1.5% annual increases in efficiency through 2026, well below the 5% yearly boosts set in 2012 by President Barack Obama’s administration.
Biden’s proposed rules, which would cover 2023-2026, are expected to be similar in overall vehicle emissions reductions to California’s 2019 deal with some automakers that aims to improve fuel economy 3.7% annually, sources told Reuters. The 2026 requirements are expected to exceed the Obama-era 5% annual improvements.
In March, a group of 71 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives urged Biden to set tough emissions rules to ensure that 60% of new passenger cars and trucks sold are zero-emission by 2030.
The United States pledged at a global climate summit this year to reduce emissions 50% to 52% by 2030, compared with 2005 levels.
In April, a dozen governors from states including California, New York and Massachusetts, urged Biden to endorse banning new passenger gasoline-powered vehicle sales by 2035.
Reporting by David Shepardson
Editing by Bill Berkrot
Biden administration officials say they’re starting to see signs of relief for the global semiconductor supply shortage, including commitments from manufacturers to make more automotive-grade chips for car companies that have had to idle production.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who has led President Joe Biden’s efforts on chip supply, has brokered a series of meetings between semiconductor manufacturers, their suppliers, and their customers including automakers. Senior administration officials said the meetings helped ease mistrust between the sides related to the chipmakers’ production and allocation and automakers’ orders.
The result has been more transparency about the manufacturers’ production and shipments and a gradual increase in supply for automakers, Raimondo said in an interview. The administration has also recently pressed governments in Malaysia and Vietnam to ensure semiconductor plants would be deemed “critical” businesses and maintain some production following COVID-19 outbreaks, officials said.
“You’re starting to see some improvements,” Raimondo said, adding that in recent weeks, Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Farley and General Motors CEO Mary Barra have told her that “they’re starting to get a little bit more of what they need” and the situation is “a little bit better.”
A Goldman Sachs analysis published last month said that the peak impact of the chip shortage was in the second quarter and auto production “should jump in July.” But U.S. automakers continue to struggle with the shortage, which is estimated to be taking a $110 billion toll on the industry.
Ford is closing or curtailing production at eight factories this month, including the plant manufacturing its new version of the iconic Bronco SUV. Five of GM’s North American plants will experience “downtime” due to “semiconductor production adjustments” this month and in August, according to GM spokesman David Barnas.
And tens of thousands of new cars remain sitting in lots outside U.S. factories, waiting for the chips that power their onboard computers.
A Ford spokeswoman declined to comment. Barnas confirmed the Barra conversation with Raimondo and provided a statement the company issued July 15.
GM’s “global purchasing and supply chain, engineering and manufacturing teams continue to find creative solutions and make strides working with the supply base to maximize production of our highest-demand and capacity-constrained vehicles, including full-size trucks and SUVs for our customers,” the statement said.
The semiconductor shortage predated the Biden administration but emerged as a crisis for the new president earlier this year, when U.S. automakers were forced to begin curtailing production for lack of chips. Manufacturing of semiconductors is concentrated with a pair of Asian companies, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Samsung Electronics Co.
TSMC, a key partner to many of the world’s biggest carmakers, said last week the company will ramp up production of microcontrollers by close to 60 percent this year, a move expected to greatly boost supplies for its automobile clients starting this quarter.
Semiconductor manufacturers and auto companies generally don’t see eye-to-eye on the causes of the shortage and the solutions. Auto companies have complained about a lack of transparency in how
WASHINGTON, July 8 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden will order U.S. transportation agencies to crack down on anti-competitive conduct and unjust fees in the rail and sea shipping industries to try to lower costs to consumers, the White House said on Thursday.
Biden will deliver remarks at 1:30 p.m. and sign an “executive order on promoting competition in the American economy,” the administration said. The order is expected to include dozens of provisions to boost competition, officials said.
The White House said one part of the president’s wide-ranging executive order is aimed at the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) and the Surface Transportation Board (STB).
White House press secretary Jen Psaki noted that shipping costs had risen dramatically during the months of the pandemic.
The order will urge the STB “to allow shippers to more easily challenge inflated rates when there is no competition between two routes.”
Biden will urge the FMC “to take all possible steps to protect American exporters from the high costs imposed by the ocean carriers” and to “crack down on unjust and unreasonable fees,” the White House said.
The Association of American Railroads said on Thursday that “competition remains fierce across freight providers” and warned some proposed reforms would put railroads, “an environmentally friendly option that invests $25 billion annually in infrastructure – at an untold disadvantage.”
Railroad stocks fell on the news, including CSX Corp (CSX.O), Kansas City Southern (KSU.N) and Norfolk Southern Corp (NSC.N), which were all down more than 6%.
Biden’s executive order, meant to foster competition throughout the economy, will include measures ranging from making it easier for farmers to repair their own tractors to requiring airlines to refund baggage fees for delayed luggage.
Reuters first reported some plans for the executive order last week and the White House has since rolled out additional proposals. read more
Transport costs for shipping goods have soared during the COVID-19 pandemic at a time of growing consolidation in transportation markets.
The forthcoming executive order “encourages the independent federal agencies regulating these markets to take steps to promote competition – which will save American businesses money on shipping costs. That, in turn, will lower prices for American consumers,” a source told Reuters earlier.
The executive order will also address noncompete agreements for workers, licensing requirements, defense contracts, cell phones, agriculture and antitrust enforcement. read more
Reporting by David Shepardson; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Howard Goller and Peter Cooney
US President Joe Biden gifted UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson a custom-built bicycle as a special souvenir for the first meeting between the two heads of state in Cornwall ahead of the G7 summit. According to reports, the special hand-built bicycle was designed as a part of the customary exchange of gifts between the heads and was chosen keeping in mind Johnson’s regular cycling outings in London.
Biden gift to Johnson
The bike was custom-made by a Philadelphia firm in a record time and at a third of the price. The red and white bike, in the colours of the United Kingdom flag, would otherwise take months to construct. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, owner of Bilenky Cycle Works- Stephen Bilenky was contacted by the US State Department on May 23 with a request to design a custom-made bicycle and a matching helmet for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Operating on a staff of four persons only, Bilenky Cycle Works usually takes up to 18 months to make a custom-made bicycle, however, the order was expedited ahead of the President’s visit to the UK for the G7 summit on June 10.
‘Controlled chaos’ followed shortly after, as per the owner who began powering to meet the prestigious order. The price of the special hand-made bike stands at a whopping $6,000, however, the budget was only set to $1,500 (£1,060), a third of the minimum price the firm charges.
Apart from Biden’s gift to Johnson, US First Lady Jill Biden gave Carrie Johnson, UK PM’s newly-wedded wife a leather tote bag made by the wives of American troops, along with a presidential silk scarf.
UK gifts Biden a mural
In a nod to the Black Lives Matter protest, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the other hand gave US President Joe Biden a framed photograph of a British mural featuring 19th-century Black abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The gifted image is painted by Ross Blair and it is a part of a mural trail around Edinburgh, photographed by Melissa Highton, an American-British dual national.
Johnson also gave US First Lady Jill Biden the first edition copy of Daphne du Maurier’s The Apple Tree. Downing Street said in a statement that the choice of the book was to reflect Du Maurier’s Cornish links.
Biden also enjoys a leisurely bike ride and was seen taking one last week with first lady Jill Biden to celebrate her 70th birthday. The president is also a fan of indoor cycling — his exercise regimen during quarantine included working out on a Peloton.
Johnson’s new bicycle is painted blue with red and white details and bears the signatures of both leaders as well as US and UK flags. Bilenky Cycle Works, a family business in Philadelphia, built the bike and the matching helmet in less than two weeks, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Friday.
The owner, Stephen Bilenky, told the newspaper he’d gotten an email from the State Department about the bike order on May 23. “It was a crazy 10 days,” he said.
As part of the customary exchange of gifts between world leaders, Johnson gave Biden a framed photo of a mural of the abolitionist Frederick Douglass, Reuters reported.
Biden met with Johnson during his first overseas trip as president and ahead of the G7 summit from Friday to Sunday. The world leaders have gathered to discuss several topics, notably defeating the coronavirus pandemic.