On Thursday afternoon, the House passed a bill that would nullify California's environmental restrictions requiring the purchase of electric vehicles.
Several Republican congressmen led by Rep. John Joyce (R-PA) first sponsored the bill in March, contending that EV regulations would be bad for the economy and violate consumer choice. The energy sector has since backed the legislation.
"The simple fact is that electric vehicles cannot meet the demands of my constituents," Joyce told Fox News Digital in an interview earlier this week.
"Coupling the mountains with the harsh winters and the intense heat of summers makes driving an electric vehicle both unreliable and ultimately unrealistic for many of my constituents."
The lawmaker went on to assert that they were voting on something that was going to help voters in California: "This legislation, H.R. 1435, is an option. It is not an anti-electric vehicle legislation. For those who would like an electric vehicle, they should have the option of buying one.
"But it doesn't help my constituents — it doesn't help in any district to require an individual to buy an EV regardless of what they want and regardless of the demands of the market."
To prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from granting waivers to states that want to ban or limit the sale of internal combustion engine automobiles, the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act has been introduced.
Right now, the EPA has the authority to allow California to set more stringent pollution requirements than the federal government under the Clean Air Act.
The Clean Air Act's provision allowing states to set their own pollution standards and EV sales mandates was restored to California in March 2022, paving the way for other states to follow California's lead.
The Trump administration has previously stripped the state of its ability to pursue standards at odds with federal regulations, prompting the new action.
By 2035, all vehicles in California would have been required to be electric, as per new regulations published by the California Air Resources Board on August 25, 2022.
With the regulations previously in place in California, according to Governor Gavin Newsom, his state would "lead the revolution towards our zero-emission transportation future."
The electric car mandate would have affected tens of millions of people across the United States, as legislation in another 17 states tie their vehicle emissions limits to those set in California. More than 40 percent of all new cars sold in the United States are expected to be purchased in states that have adopted California's 2035 requirement.