Biden plan does not back phase-out of gas-powered passenger vehicles, official says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan includes $174 billion in spending and tax credits to boost electric vehicles and charging networks but does not call for phasing out gasoline-powered vehicles, a White House official told Reuters on Wednesday.

A number of U.S. lawmakers have called on Biden to follow the lead of California, which announced last year that it planned to end the sale of new gas-powered passenger vehicles in 2035. A White House official confirmed the plan has “no phase-out and no specific date at the moment.”

Many lawmakers and union officials are worried that phasing out gas-powered vehicles could decimate auto jobs.

Rory Gamble, the president of the United Auto Workers union, said in a statement on Wednesday that “workers will disproportionately suffer if we do not make the transition to a green economy in the right way.”

He added that “the reality is that we have a long way to go in terms of battery technology, refueling infrastructure and, importantly, market demand in order to successfully make this transition to electric vehicles.”

White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy held a call on Wednesday with senior auto executives to discuss the plan.

The White House said Biden wants new tax credits to spur domestic production of batteries and other electric vehicle components. He will also call for new consumer rebates and tax incentives to “buy American-made EVs,” according to a White House fact sheet.

The plan does not hike gas taxes or impose a vehicle miles tax. It does not appear EV users would pay for federal funding of road repairs under the plan.

The Democratic president also is calling for grants and incentive programs “to build a national network of 500,000 EV chargers by 2030” and the replacement of 50,000 diesel transit vehicles and electrification of at least 20% of school buses.

Reporting by David Shepardson, Editing by Franklin Paul and Paul Simao

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