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New Mexico Becomes 13th State to Adopt California GHG Limits on New Cars

Thirteen states (green) have adopted the California Clean Car Standard, including the limits on greenhouse gases from new vehicles. Six (yellow) are currently in the process of adopting the limits. Click to enlarge.

After two days of joint hearings, the Albuquerque-Bernalillo Air Quality Control Board (AQCB) and hte New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) voted to adopt Clean Car standards to reduce air pollution and global warming emissions from new cars, trucks and SUVs beginning in Model Year 2011. This makes New Mexico the 13th state to adopt the Clean Cars program.

The program, initially started in California under special authority granted through the Clean Air Act, has already been adopted by twelve other states: Maine, California, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington and Oregon. Other states are currently in the process of adopting the standards, including Arizona, Colorado and Florida.

The Clean Cars program consists of three elements. First, the low emission vehicle (LEV II) program sets strict standards for traditional air pollutants. Under the program, volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxide would be cut by 5% and 11% respectively. Second, the green house gas emissions standards set a fleet-wide average emission standard that the major automakers need to achieve.

By 2016, new cars would emit approximately 34% less global warming gases, while light-duty trucks would produce 25% less. Implementation of this aspect of the program is pending the granting of a waiver to California and the other states adopting the California program from the EPA and also faces challenges in court.

Third, the zero emission vehicle (ZEV) program helps to drive further technological development by requiring automakers to invest in researching and producing advanced-technology vehicles.

Directed by Governor Richardson and Albuquerque Mayor Chavez, the New Mexico Environment Department and the Albuquerque Environmental Health Department drafted the Clean Cars regulations.

Twenty-three environmental, health, faith, consumer and science groups presented technical testimony in support of the regulations and more than 2,000 members of the public provided written and oral comment at the hearings in support of the program.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade association representing ten car and truck manufacturers, opposed the regulations.

The transportation sector is the second-largest source of carbon dioxide pollution in New Mexico, making up nearly one-quarter of the state’s emissions in 2000.

(A hat-tip to Bob!)




Good stuff... it's nice to see taking actions to try to reduce the impacts of carbon emissions are becoming more mainstream.

I'm more intrigued by states like UT, TN, and FL. They've got a recent history of being conservative and don't really seem to reversing that trend. Yet, they're stepping up. Tennessee is the most exciting to me, because they're part of the solid red GOP South, and they have car manufacturing in-state. If it can get done in UT, FL, and TN, there's no reason why it can't get done in nearly every state.

It'd be nice to see this get to 25, and then 30 states, thinking about upgrading the CA regs to Federal. After all, if 60 Senators and a majority of House members represent states who have adopted the tougher standards, they just might be willing to require the other states to join up. Only 19 have signed on. The next 6 enviro groups ought to lean on IMO are HI, NH, DE, WI, NV, and NC. The next 5 [much tougher] might be MT, WY, IA, MO, and IL, appealing to populism and preservation of natural beauty and resources for sportsmen, ranchers, farmers, etc.


Good for the states. Its time to see car pollution as a health issue, not partisan or any other divisional method. Cars are greatly cleaner than they have been in the past. But people's health, especially children, is still negatively affected the closer people are to freeways. Best through the Feds, but any method to decry unnecessary deaths due to exhaust fumes are good responses.


This is terrific news.
It seems efficient and effective to have one state with a severe air quality problem doing the research and drafting policy, then allowing other states to choose minimum federal air quality standards or to adopt the higher standards.
This is a very encouraging trend because it shows that governors aspire to be in the club of high air quality standards; this drives change.
Has anyone done the math to work out how many House members represent states who have adopted the tougher standards?


If you were to convert these standards into the effect on gas mileage what would the CAFE rating under these rules be compared to Federal future rules?


You think IL would be more difficult? Seems like it'd fall in with the first group you mentioned. Like you I'm intrigued by the TN "island". I'm glad to see all of the 4 corners states involved.


The elephant in the room no one has mentioned is Texas. Most of the big population states have signed on but them. Now Texas will be a challenge! But it may not matter. I would guess that these 19 states represent more than half of the US population which means the car manufacturers will have to make ALL of their vehicles more efficient, and once the vehicles are available, the other states will buy them. Congratulations to California (and Arnold) for taking the lead on this (Lord knows GWB wasn't going to).

Bob Bastard

Paul, Texas is an interesting case. I heard an article on NPR the other day that claimed that if Texas were a sovereign state, it would be the 6th leading producer of ghg on earth. They also mentioned that the Chevy Suburban was named the official National Car of Texas!


@PulpMillMan: According to this report:
the California standards would translate to around 33 mpg in 2016 - that's if automakers don't take credits for air conditioning changes or alt. fuel vehicles. These additional credits could reduce the mpg achieved by as much as 6 mpg.

Stan Peterson

If the CAFE effect is 33 mpg in 2016, then reduced by 6 mpg to 27 mpg, then the rules has no impact whatever.

Jack has provided us with CAFE study on a previous post that showed that the US and foreign automakers had achieved an actual CAFE of slightly over 30 mpg in 2006; just as they did in 2005,while the standard is 27.5 mpg. Unexpectedly, the domestic US automakers 2006 products were slightly more efficient then the foreign automakers.


Stan, you are incorrect.
Check the authoritative EPA Fuel Economy Trends report (, you'll see the US new vehicle fleet averaged 20.2 mpg in 2006.
Moreover, of the 8 major manufacturers, the US-based firms had the lowest fuel economy:
"For MY2007, the eight highest-selling marketing groups (that account for over 95 percent of all sales) fall into three fuel economy groupings: Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai-Kia (HK) have estimated fuel economies of 22.7 to 22.9 mpg; Volkswagen and Nissan have projected fuel economies of 20.6 to 21.4 mpg; and General Motors, Ford, and DaimlerChrysler have estimated fuel economies of 18.3 to 19.4 mpg."

I hope these facts are helpful to you.

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