GOP Senators go after inflated EV efficiency in fleet standards

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In their ongoing effort to push back against stricter emissions standards expected to lead to more EV sales, Senate Republicans have drafted a bill calling for regulators to change the way EV efficiency is calculated.

Dubbed the Recalculating Electric Vehicle Efficiency for Accuracy and Legitimacy (REVEAL) Act, the bill questions the methods the Department of Energy currently uses to calculate a petroleum-equivalent efficiency value for EVs, explains Transport Topics.

The bill calls for new criteria for these calculations, which are expressed on car window stickers as MPGe or “miles per gallon equivalent” in order to give consumers a point of comparison with gasoline and diesel-vehicle fuel economy. Republicans believe these calculations are skewed in favor of EVs.

2024 Ford F-150 Lightning Flash

2024 Ford F-150 Lightning Flash

“No administration should be able to rig efficiency calculations for electric cars,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the bill’s sponsor, said in a statement. “The REVEAL Act would prevent the secretary or energy from using these faulty calculations to prohibit the sale of gas- or diesel-powered cars or trucks.”

It’s worth noting that the Biden administration’s new emissions rules, covering model years 2027-2032, don’t prohibit the sale of gasoline or diesel-powered cars or trucks. They set tougher targets that will likely require more EV sales for automakers to meet, but they don’t specify what powertrain or mix of powertrain types must be used.

2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV WT

2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV WT

One way the bill aims to protect gasoline and diesel vehicles from being slandered is to require that EVs are sorted into classes comparable to internal-combustion vehicles when calculating efficiency. Automakers might not like that so much, as each EV wouldn’t enable them to build as many gas-guzzling full-size trucks, as the current rules allow. Trucks already got a softer climb from the Biden administration in fleet mpg standards versus what had originally been proposed.

While perhaps not what Republican Senators have in mind, this does beg the question of whether EPA rules should incentivize more efficient EVs—something they currently don’t entirely do—or whether upstream emissions should be included in efficiency calculations to give a better idea of an EV’s total carbon footprint.

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