Vermont on Wednesday joined California in regulating greenhouse gas (notably CO2) emissions from vehicles, becoming the first of six Northeastern states working on the same rules to do so.
Under the rule, one set of GHG standards is to be established for passenger cars, small light-duty trucks, and small SUVs, and another set for large light-duty trucks (up to 8,500 lbs. GVWR) and large SUVS (less than 10,000 lbs. GVWR). Both sets of GHG standards would be gradually phased in between model-years 2009 and 2016. When fully implemented during model-year 2016, new motor vehicles subject to the regulation would be required to emit approximately 30% fewer GHGs than without the regulation.
Vermont’s analysis is that implementing the GHG regulations will cut total fleet emissions in the state from the 2002 baseline by 18% in 2020 (1,488.1 tons of CO2 equivalent) and by 27% in 2030 (2,630.5 tons of CO2 equivalent).
The federal clean air act allows for two sets of rules governing emissions from cars sold in the United States: the California standard and the less-strict federal standard. Vermont followed New York and Massachusetts in 1998 in adopting the California standards.
To date all the Northeastern states which have adopted the California Low Emission Vehicle program (NY, MA, RI, CT, NJ, and VT) have also committed to adopting California’s greenhouse gas emission standards.
Motor vehicle emissions account for approximately 25% of total anthropogenic GHG emissions in the Northeast. Motor vehicle miles traveled are predicted to increase, representing the fastest growing portion of the region’s overall GHG inventory.
(A hat-tip to Jack Rosebro!)
GHG Amendments to Vermont’s Low Emission Vehicles rules