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President Joe Biden signed an executive order recently that will push the U.S. government to use a full zero-emission vehicle fleet by 2035. Although not the primary concern of the bill, it’s an integral part. The Presidential Executive Order is titled “Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability.” It outlines how the government will go carbon neutral by 2050, starting with its fleet of vehicles much sooner.

Joe Biden executive order: zero emissions vehicles

President Joe biding in the oval office signing a bill
President Joe Biden | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

One particular section of Joe Biden’s executive order, section 204, highlights the government vehicle fleet. It states that each government agency with at least a 20 vehicle light-duty fleet must begin to transition to zero-emissions vehicles by the end of 2027. Additionally, all government services that use medium- to heavy-duty vehicle fleets must begin transitioning by 2035.

Unfortunately, part of this executive order is that all new vehicle purchases made by these years must be zero emissions. If the fleets are using older vehicles and aren’t ready to buy new ones yet, they won’t be zero-emissions options until that time. Assuming the government doesn’t buy brand new cars yearly, this EO makes it so after 2027 and 2035; new vehicle purchases must use zero emissions.

A Joe Biden executive order is not a law

When the president signs an executive order, it carries the force of law among the federal agencies it covers. However, it’s not law once a judiciary or subsequent executive order overturns it. For something to become federal law, Congress must pass it, and the president must sign it. It boils down to that once Biden is out of office, the next president could alter the executive order. The same goes for the judiciary, who could change it while Biden remains in office.

Energy producing states are angry about zero emissions vehicles

One issue caused by this executive order is the states that make their money from producing energy. Specifically, fossil fuel energy as opposed to the clean, sustainable kind. Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming had this to say, “President Biden’s strategy is to destroy the economies of Wyoming, West Virginia and other energy-producing states. With this action, he’s telling millions of Americans who provide most of the energy we use every day that he thinks they should be thrown out of work,” MotorTrend reported.

Does the Joe Biden executive order impact citizens

White 2022 Tesla Model X, an SUV with high gas mileage and fast acceleration, driving by mountains, the new President Joe Biden executive order will not force private companies or citizens into using zero emissions vehicles.
2022 Tesla Model X | Tesla

No, this new executive order does not force citizens or private companies to use zero-emissions vehicles. It is only for the federal government and around 640,000 total vehicles. The only companies that will see any changes are those producing zero-emissions vehicles. Specifically, those working for the U.S. government to produce its fleet. Over the next few years, that’s a lot of production to ramp up. Especially in a time where production is behind for every automaker, and other businesses.

Zero emissions vehicle fleet by 2035?

A fleet of government vehicles brings Joe Biden to the presidential inauguration, he signed an executive order to transfer the U.S. government into zero emissions vehicles by 2035.
In Washington, President Joe Biden’s car rolls on 15th street toward the White House during a Presidential Escort to the White House, January 20, 2021. | JOSE LUIS MAGANA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Will the U.S. government be able to deliver on the promise by 2035? We have no clue, but we know that the government usually moves much slower than it says. MotorTrend says the U.S. Park Police already use EV bikes and motorcycles, while the Department of Homeland Security attempts to transition into Ford Mustang Mach-Es. That’s just a few government agencies, and plenty more need to transition soon to hit the goal of 640,000 by 2035.

This new Joe Biden executive order is an excellent step toward making the government utilize only zero emissions vehicles. More details about the EO are available directly from the White House. There’s a lot that can go wrong, including timing goals. However, if all goes well, the new vehicle EO seems like a tremendous positive for the country. After all, the U.S. government needs to lead by example when using clean energy.


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