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U.S. auto suppliers oppose setting gas-powered phaseout date

WASHINGTON, April 27 (Reuters) - A group representing auto suppliers will tell U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday it opposes setting a firm date to end the sale of new gasoline-powered passenger cars and expects those vehicles will be sold for at least another 20 years.

The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA), which represents more than 1,000 vehicle suppliers, will tell a Senate Commerce subcommittee on transportation that the Biden administration should continue to set regulatory requirements that ensure suppliers keep working to improve internal combustion engines.

Ann Wilson, MEMA’s senior vice president of government affairs, will tell the panel that new gasoline-powered vehicles “will likely be on the road for an additional 20 years.”

Climate change concerns “will not be met unless the propulsion system containing the internal combustion engine continues to improve its efficiency,” she added.

Wilson warned that a “fully electric vehicle fleet will require significantly fewer supplier jobs, with some experts arguing that the supplier industry could lose up to 30% of its traditional workforce.”

“Engines, transmissions, aftertreatment systems, and other parts will simply not be manufactured for battery electric and fuel cell vehicles,” she said.

The governors of a dozen U.S. states including California, New York, Massachusetts and North Carolina, and many U.S. lawmakers have called on President Joe Biden to back ending sales of new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035.

Biden’s infrastructure plan seeks $174 billion in spending and tax credits to electric vehicles and charging networks but does not call for phasing out gasoline-powered passenger vehicles.

California said in September it planned to end sales of new gas-powered passenger vehicles by 2035. Biden’s campaign said last fall he did not support California’s phase-out plan.

Last week, White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy said the administration had not set any specific EV adoption targets.

“We’re not making any demands right now because this is about basically using the market to generate the kind of reductions we need,” McCarthy said. (Reporting by David Shepardson Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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