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Colorado DPHE proposing rule to adopt California LEV standards for MY 2022 and following

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will propose Regulation Number 20, Low Emission Vehicles (Colorado Low Emission Automobile Regulations, CLEAR), to the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) to the AQCC at its regular meeting on 16 August. The proposed rule adopts California Low Emission Vehicle standards for new light- and medium-duty motor vehicles sold in Colorado beginning in MY 2022.

The proposed rule incorporates by reference the some 52 sections of the California Code applicable to emission from MY 2022 and later new passenger cars, light-duty trucks, medium-duty vehicles (up to 14,000 lbs GVWR) and replacement engines for these vehicles.

The LEV standards include criteria pollutant emissions (hydrocarbon, oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, particulate and formaldehyde). These criteria emission standards are essentially the same as the federal EPA standards.

The incorporation also includes adoption of the California greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for most of these vehicles.

The proposed rule adopts not only the criteria pollutant and GHG standards, but also several ancillary California rules relating to evaporative emissions, ob-board diagnostics (OBD), testing, accountability and reporting, and consumer protections to include vehicle warranty and recall.

Should the rule be adopted, Colorado will be in company with the 13 states other than California that adopted California LEV requirements between 2005 and 2014.

Background. Under the federal Clean Air Act, states may adopt either federal standards or California standards. Colorado discussed the adoption of California LEV at least twice in the past (2005 and 2012), but took no action.

In June 2018, Colorado Governor Hickenlooper issued Executive Order B 2018 006, Maintaining Progress on Clean Vehicles. The executive order noted that the federal government had announced its intention to roll back vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for model years 2022-2025. Rolling back these standards would negatively impact Colorado’s ability to meet its GHG reduction goals. The executive order directs the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to do the following:

  • Develop a rule to establish a Colorado Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) program, which incorporates the requirements of the California LEV program; and

  • Propose that rule to the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) during its August 2018 meeting for possible adoption into the Colorado Code of Regulations by 30 December 2018.

The executive order does not direct CDPHE to propose a zero emission vehicle program or to mandate the sale of electric vehicles. Accordingly, the proposed rule does not create a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program for Colorado. Similarly, it has no effect on heavy duty trucks or non-highway equipment, and no change to fuel specifications in this proposed rule.

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