Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) Bans and ‘Zero Emission Vehicle’ (ZEV) Mandates

Americans depend on affordable, reliable fuel and transportation options to get to work, school, community activities and more each day. ICE bans and ZEV mandates (which we’ll explain below) would contribute to prices going up for consumers and could also threaten millions of jobs, resulting in significant losses for our country’s economy. Cleaner, greener vehicle transportation is a goal we’re all working toward, but forcing vehicle electrification isn’t the only way — or the best way — to achieve that.

So what are ‘ICE bans’ and ‘ZEV mandates?’

  • ICE bans, or ICEV bans, are exactly what they sound like. They are policies aimed at eliminating the sale of gasoline- and diesel-powered cars and trucks.
  • ZEV mandates, or electric vehicle mandates, are a bit more subtle. These are government mandates that require auto dealers to sell a certain number of electric or ‘zero emission’ vehicles every year, based on a percentage of their overall vehicle sales.
  • For both sets of policies, you can see that consumer choice doesn’t factor heavily at all, which is a sharp turn away from America’s consumer-driven car culture, and a recipe for higher costs across the board.

    In California alone, where Governor Gavin Newsom recently directed state regulators to develop policies effectively banning the sale of cars and trucks that run on gasoline and diesel fuel by the year 2035, 145,000 refining industry jobs and $35 billion in economic output from the refining industry could be put on the chopping block.

    There’s also a high likelihood that a ban would expand beyond California. That’s because there are about 15 states that adopt carbon copies of California vehicle laws and they will be pressured to get on board with this proposal too.

    At the national level, governors from 12 states have asked President Biden to develop a country-wide ban on gasoline and diesel car sales by 2035, essentially asking him to let California regulators set policy for every other state.

    California’s Policies for the Country?

    California’s approach must be reevaluated for several reasons, and certainly might not work for the rest of the country. Here’s why:

    1. These policies put jobs at risk. Nationwide, the fuel and petrochemical industries support 3.5M jobs. ICE bans and ZEV mandates threaten to eliminate many of them.
    2. Our country can’t afford it. Our industries generate $667B in economic activity, are economic anchors in several states and pay $70B in direct taxes to the federal government. There isn’t a meaningful environmental or economic upside to eliminating jobs and wiping out much of our industries’ products and contributions. In fact, going in this direction will put consumers on the hook for massive new spending which could mean higher monthly utility expenses and a bigger tax bill.
    3. Americans deserve choice. Consumers should have a full range of safe, clean and affordable vehicle options to choose from. A country as diverse as ours needs vehicle and transportation laws that work for Americans in every region, profession and income bracket. No single vehicle powertrain is going to be the best option for every American. Buyers are better situated than government to balance price, reliability, safety, size, power, utility and other factors when buying a new car.

    Saying no to bans and mandates doesn’t mean saying no to cleaner vehicles. Refiners and petrochemical manufacturers have made substantial investments to increase the efficiency of motor vehicles--worth that continues to this day. Because of cleaner fuels, new lubricants and high-tech auto design, vehicles today are 99 percent cleaner, more than twice as efficient and emit half the carbon as models from the 1970s. And we’re just getting started.

    Banning ICE vehicles and squeezing them out of the market through ZEV mandates will put an end to this progress.