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NY State Following California on CO2 Regulations

New York’s State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has proposed regulations that adopt California’s aggressive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions regulations. New York is the first state to follow California’s lead in this.

The California rules require cuts in emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases in cars and trucks by as much as 25 percent beginning with the 2009 model year, with cuts accelerating as high as 34 percent in 2016. (Earlier post.) Automakers have challenged the regulations, and the issue currently is in Federal court.

Although large cuts in CO2 emissions will generally result from corresponding increases in fuel efficiency, there are other mechanisms for contributing to the reductions. (The California Air Resources Board took a great deal of time to evaluate different technologies and options to assess the viability of the proposed reductions. Earlier post.)

In his 2003 State of the State address, Governor Pataki called for New York to work to reduce greenhouse gases by adopting the greenhouse gas emission standards for motor vehicles which were proposed by California. The proposed regulations fulfill that call.

Motor vehicle emissions are one of the largest sources of air pollution in New York State and in urban areas throughout our nation.  New York is a national leader in the fight for cleaner air and we are committed to doing all we can to reduce vehicle emissions and encourage the use of cleaner, renewable fuels and technology. These proposed regulations will help reduce the amount of harmful greenhouse gases being released into our environment that contribute to global climate change, protecting our natural resources and improving the quality of life of all New Yorkers.

—Gov. Pataki

New York first adopted the California Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) program in the early 1990s, and has continued to follow the cleaner LEV program as it has evolved. Under the Clean Air Act, states have the right to adopt the more stringent California LEV program for its reduced automotive emissions, or they must adhere to Federal standards. States may not create their own programs regulating vehicle emissions. This current proposal is the latest in the series of changes necessary for New York to maintain adherence to the California LEV program.

The NY regulation mandates new vehicle certification levels for all passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles starting with the 2009 model year. Manufacturers of all 2009 and later model year vehicles will be required to meet a fleet average standard that becomes more stringent each year through 2016. The fleet average standard is the emissions standard that a manufacturer’s average emissions must meet for its entire product line. There is one standard for passenger cars and the lightest trucks, sport utility vehicles, and minivans; and another standard for heavier trucks and SUVs.

The proposed regulation also provides flexibility to assist vehicle manufacturers in complying with the regulations. Under the declining fleet average standard, the emissions from a manufacturer’s entire product line will have to meet the standard, not necessarily each individual vehicle; various combinations of existing and emerging control technologies; early reduction credits and credit trading for 2000-2008 model year vehicles that meet or exceed the 2012 standards (credits can be traded between vehicle categories and to other manufacturers to offset a compliance deficit); and alternative compliance options that involving increased use of alternative fuels in model year 2009 and later vehicles covered by the regulation.

The proposed regulation is now subject to a public comment period. Public hearings are being held in four locations across the State and comments will be accepted until July 15, 2005—five business days after the last scheduled public hearing.



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