Member Updates


EVs Aren’t the Only Answer in the Race to Zero Emissions


By: Ian Lehn, founder of BOOSTane, Inc.

As a proud Cincinnati native and local small business owner, I have real concerns about the potential consequences of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to drastically restrict emissions standards for light- and medium-duty vehicles.

As the founder of a company built around gas-powered vehicles, it may seem obvious that I would oppose the EPA's proposed rules, which could be the knock-out punch for the internal combustion engine. But the reality is that my concerns stem from my background as an engineer and my passion for allowing the market to drive technology and progression.

The EPA's proposed emissions standards for model years 2027-32 would effectively ban gasoline and diesel vehicles, forcing consumers to go all-electric. The Biden Administration estimates this proposal will result in two out of three new vehicles sold in the U.S. being electric by 2032.
While I think EVs are an important piece of the puzzle and will play a huge role in our future, I disagree with the EPA's aggressive timeline and false narrative that this is the only way to reach our goal of zero emissions. I think we should allow technology and the market to dictate the adoption rate, not politicians.

These rules ignore the fact that the internal combustion engine can be engineered to use several types of fuels, not just gasoline. Remember leaded gasoline? When we transitioned from leaded to unleaded gasoline, we kept the engine, but changed the fuel. The same thing can happen with low and zero-emission fuel options: biodiesel, synthetic fuels, and hydrogen. Keep the engine; change the fuel.

However, the further refinement of internal combustion engines and the development of alternatives for reaching zero emissions will be stunted because these regulations essentially force automakers to focus on EVs. In each of the last three decades, the amount of efficiency that has been harnessed for gas-powered vehicles has been incredible. That progress has all been paid for by demand - consumers want vehicles that get better gas mileage - not driven by legislation.

The EPA's regulations will result in a big step back over the next 10 years as there is less incentive and financial support to research and develop other technologies. Companies like mine are working hard to find the next generation of solutions, but it takes time and money. Without the government's support, other pathways to zero emissions are forced to stand on their own without a real seat at the table. Additionally, money from research grants simply won't be available because the focus has been shifted to EVs.

If we're truly interested in coming up with a sustainable solution, we need to do a better job with the vehicles that are currently on the road and explore new fuel technologies that fit into our infrastructure right now. The EPA should help the market drive these advancements, rather than hand picking a winner. For example, Shell and Penske are working on a collaboration regarding renewable diesel*, while Toyota is investing in Hydrogen Fuel Cell powertrains for heavy duty and passenger vehicle applications**. Porsche alone has invested $100 million into the development of synthetic fuels.

The implications, intended or otherwise, of this proposal will be far-reaching for consumers, as well as the industries that revolve around manufacturing, maintaining and advancing internal combustion engines. If you feel strongly about the EPA's proposal and the unfair advantages being given to EVs, reach out to your local and state representatives and ask them to push back against these regulations.

* Penske Truck Leasing Expands Use of Renewable Diesel with Shell - Penske Truck Leasing
** Toyota hydrogen fuel cell powertrain in commercial truck (