Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will be a key component in the nationwide effort to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The Biden administration’s US National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization, which highlighted specific decarbonization opportunities and challenges for various modes of transportation, identified hydrogen as the option with the greatest long-term opportunity for decarbonizing long-haul heavy trucks. However, adoption of hydrogen fuel cell technologies for long-haul heavy trucks is highly dependent on advancing hydrogen fuel cell technologies and expanding the hydrogen refueling infrastructure, as well as the availability of hydrogen supply, the cost of alternative types of transportation, and regulatory drivers.
FERC, CFTC, and State Energy Law Developments
The Biden administration released the US National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization (Blueprint) on January 10, 2023, setting forth a strategy for decarbonizing the transportation sector in order to achieve the economy-wide 2030 and 2050 emissions reduction goals.
Many people spent the last week of 2022 celebrating holidays or seeking travel adventures both far and near. However, a select group of personnel at the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of the Treasury opted for a different path. On December 29, the IRS and Treasury issued a number of documents providing information and clarification on issues concerning tax credit eligibility for purchases of clean vehicles beginning in January 2023.
On December 1, 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its proposed “set” rule for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program. In addition to setting the volume and percentage standards for renewable fuels for 2023 through 2025, EPA proposed several regulatory changes to the RFS Program, the most notable of which was its proposal to create a new program to govern the Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) for renewable electricity, which are known as “eRINs.”
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted on August 25, 2022, to approve the Advanced Clean Cars II rule that prohibits the sale of new gasoline-fueled cars by 2035. The rule sets forth a plan whereby automakers must deliver an increasing amount of zero-emission light-duty vehicles each year, essentially phasing out the manufacturing of gasoline-fueled cars. The requirements begin in 2026, when 35% of cars manufactured for sale must be zero-emission or plug-in hybrid vehicles. The required amount rises to 68% of cars manufactured for sale by 2030, then to 100% by 2035.
On June 9, the Department of Transportation (DOT), through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), proposed mandatory standards concerning the development and operation of publicly available electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in US markets. DOT’s proposal is the first-ever effort of the US government to impose mandatory standards on EV charging infrastructure in an effort to create uniformity and consumer transparency in the EV charging sector. DOT’s proposal is subject to comment and consideration, and a final rule is expected later this year.
A bipartisan group of US senators recently proposed legislation intended to broadly address electric vehicle (EV) fleet management, as both the federal government and the private sector continue adopting EV use at an unprecedented rate in the US market.
US President Joseph Biden issued a directive to the secretary of defense on March 31, invoking the Defense Production Act (DPA) to spur the domestic production of critical minerals needed to produce large-capacity batteries for the automotive, emobility, and stationary electricity storage sectors.
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As anyone in the electric vehicle sector is aware, network charging infrastructure is a threshold issue to be addressed in order to get more electric vehicles (EVs) on the roads in US markets.