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Calif. ARB releases GHG scoping plan update; more ZEVs, “LEV IV”, MD and HD regulations; ZEV for trucks; more LCFS

The California Air Resources Board released the draft proposed first update to the AB 32 Scoping Plan, which guides development and implementation of California’s greenhouse gas emission reduction programs. The Air Resources Board is required to update the Scoping Plan every five years.

Among the actions proposed or considered in the transportation sector include aggressive implementation of the light-duty Zero Emission Vehicle standard; LEV IV emissions regulations for the light-duty fleet post-2025 (GHG reductions of about 5% per year); Phase 2 GHG regulations for medium and heavy-duty (MD and HD) vehicles; a possible ZEV regulation for trucks; more stringent carbon reduction targets for the Low Carbon Fuel Standard; and others.

Background. The 2013 Scoping Plan update lays out the remaining steps to the 2020 limits set by AB 32. The update identifies eight key sectors for ongoing action: Energy; Transportation, fuels, land use and infrastructure; Agriculture; Water; Waste management; Natural lands; Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (such as methane and black carbon); and Green Buildings. Overall, the update:

  • identifies opportunities to leverage existing and new funds to drive GHG emission reductions through strategic planning and targeted low carbon investments;

  • defines ARB’s climate change priorities for the next five years;

  • sets the groundwork to reach long-term goals set forth in the relevant executive orders;

  • highlights California’s progress toward meeting the “near-term” 2020 GHG emission reduction goals defined in the initial Scoping Plan; and evaluates how to align the State’s “longer-term” GHG reduction strategies with other State policy priorities for water, waste, natural resources, clean energy, transportation, and land use.

Transportation. California’s transportation system accounts for about 38% of the state’s GHG emissions and is the primary source of smog-forming and toxic air pollution in the State. Mandatory regional criteria pollutant reduction targets will be established in the 2016 State Implementation Plans (SIPs) with expected reductions on the order of 90% below 2010 levels in the South Coast and similar reductions in the San Joaquin Valley by the year 2032. Many of the strategies employed to reduce GHG emissions will also work to meet the national ambient air quality standard for ozone in 2032.

California has already taken a number of actions to cut greenhouse emissions from the transportation sector that combined are target to cut in half emissions from passenger transportation over the next 20 years. Major transportation related policies already in place are:

  • The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). Since its launch in 2011, the regulation has generated a multitude of unique approaches for cleaner fuels.

  • California’s vehicle GHG standards—authorized by AB 1493 (Pavley) in 2002, first approved in 2004, and extended in 2012—are delivering fuel consumption and CO2 reductions. These rules cover model years through 2025; ARB is working with the US EPA on national GHG standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

  • California’s zero emission vehicle (ZEV) regulation is also driving a transformation of the fleet. As a result of ARB’s 2012 ZEV program and Governor Brown’s Executive Order B-16-12, California expects to have more than 1.5 million zero emission vehicles on its roads by 2025.

California is also making strides toward reducing the number of miles people drive, through more sustainable local and regional housing, land use, and transportation planning. To date, seven Metropolitan Planning Organizations have adopted Sustainable Community Strategies.

“… the light-duty vehicle segment will need to become largely electrified by 2050 in order to meet California’s emission reduction goals.”
—Draft Scoping Plan Update

The actions identified in the Scoping Plan Update represent a natural extension of these existing policies, including targeted investment, strategic market support, and coordinated planning for more sustainable development.

Recommendations are based on technologies currently available or expected in the near term, and on planning and investment steps that can be taken now.

However, to achieve the needed transportation GHG reductions and the corresponding 2032 ozone standards, the market uptake of advanced technologies will need to be accelerated. Additional strategies are needed over the next five years to define the paths for longer-term change. As all these actions and policies are implemented, they will need to be consistent with principles and criteria, as recommended by the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (EJAC), that ensure access, equity, and benefits to vulnerable communities.

… California’s regulatory programs and planning efforts provide a basic foundation to build lasting markets where vehicle/equipment manufacturers, suppliers, and fuel providers who make large, smart investments are handsomely rewarded for developing leading technologies. Standards should drive technologies to higher volumes, lower prices, and ultimately, become market-winning solutions, rather than compliance approaches.

—Draft Scoping Plan Update

Efficient Vehicle and Engine Technology and Zero Emissions Technology. As part of California’s Advanced Clean Cars program, the ZEV Regulation requires about 15% of new cars sold in California in 2025 to be a plug-in hybrid, battery electric, or fuel cell vehicle. California currently has 60,000 ZEVs (primarily light-duty vehicles, including battery electric, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles) on its roadways. Continuing to support and develop zero emission vehicle markets within California and elsewhere is critical to achieving California’s emissions reduction requirements, the report notes.

California earlier outlined several steps in the State’s ZEV Action Plan (earlier post), further to support the market and to accelerate its growth. The Action Plan outlines actions grouped under four broad goals: Complete needed infrastructure and planning; Expand consumer awareness and demand; Transform fleets; and Grow jobs and investment in the private sector. The update calls for committed implementation of the actions described in the ZEV plan.

The update to the scoping plan also suggests a role for “LEV IV” regulations post 2025:

Continuing progress on light-duty vehicles beyond the scope of the Advanced Clean Cars program with a LEV IV standard targeted at achieving additional GHG reductions of about 5% per year beyond 2025 would reduce new vehicle emission standards to about 125 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per mile (gCO2e/mi) in 2030 and to below 100 g CO2e/mi by 2035. Furthermore, commercially available technologies, such as low-rolling resistant tires for light-duty vehicles, can be utilized by both new and in-use vehicles in the near-term to achieve GHG emission reductions.

On the medium- and heavy-duty on-road side, the update report looks to a Phase 2 GHG standard, on which ARB staff is working with the US EPA for Board consideration by 2016.

Under these standards, natural gas (NG) trucks will likely be deployed in large numbers, and hybrid electric trucks (HEVs) will begin to scale up in the fleet. Heavy-duty vehicle NOx reductions are an essential part of reducing criteria pollutants by 90% by 2032 in extreme nonattainment areas.

To continue reducing emissions, zero and near-zero emission technologies [for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles] will need to be deployed in large numbers, on a path that includes increasing sales on the order of 5–10 percent annually. In addition to clean NG trucks, BEV and FCV technology could be deployed in urban fleet applications and medium-heavy classifications. This is particularly true for fleets that have a central fueling hub. For the heavier classifications with moderate range, strategies could include plug-in hybrid technology with catenary electric infrastructure along transport corridors. For heavy, long-range applications where electrification is not practical, low-carbon sources of energy, such as renewable fuels and hydrogen FCVs, will be necessary.

For successful implementation of these strategies, California needs to make similar commitments to develop zero emission vehicle markets for heavy-duty vehicles and equipment. Many zero emission technologies for trucks have progressed at least to the demonstration phase, and in the case of smaller trucks, battery-powered vehicles are available commercially in small volumes. However, ZEV technology for Class 7 and 8 vehicles, which account for most of heavy-duty vehicle emissions, has not progressed as far as it has for light-duty vehicles. Where the technology is available or being demonstrated, near-term challenges exist in terms of cost, vehicle range, payload, and the need for associated infrastructure. Additional steps to support heavy-duty ZEV technology may include setting targets for the number of vehicles, infrastructure deployment, zero emission truck miles, and consideration of a ZEV mandate for applicable truck categories or sectors.

—Draft Scoping Plan Update

Low-Carbon Fuels. The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), adopted in 2009, requires the carbon intensity of transportation fuels to be reduced by at least 10 percent in 2020. While the primary goal is reducing carbon intensity and concomitant greenhouse gas emissions, implementation will also necessarily diversify the fuel portfolio.

In addition, fuels will come under California’s Cap-and-Trade Program in 2015. Together, LCFS and Cap-and-Trade provide a structure to ensure that necessary emission reductions are achieved and provide an effective market signal to accelerate innovation and development of cleaner fuels.

In 2014 ARB will consider extending the LCFS, with more aggressive targets for 2030.

Transportation, Land Use, and Housing. Senate Bill (SB) 375 gave California a novel policy mechanism for reducing transportation-sector GHG emissions. Regional and local planning agencies are responsible for developing Sustainable Communities Strategies (SCS) as part of the federally required Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), and also responsible for developing State-required general plan housing elements to help meet these targets. (Earlier post.) The goal of SB 375 is to reduce GHG emissions from passenger vehicles through better-integrated regional transportation, land use, and housing planning that provides easier access to jobs, services, public transit, and active transportation options.

All seven metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) that have adopted SCS so far have met or exceeded the ARB-set targets. Successful implementation of these SCS is the critical next step in achieving the associated GHG reductions, the update notes.

Implementation of these strategies hinges on local actions to realize the GHG reductions envisioned in the regional SCS. The State’s proposed role is to provide ongoing support, through access to financial resources and incentives, guidance documents, housing element certification, planning tools, and other forms of technical assistance.

In 2014, ARB will review the advancements in data, models, analytical methodologies, and technologies that have taken place since 2010 to inform the need for and timing of revised MPO targets. This technical review will provide the foundation for a future target revision, consistent with each MPO’s time frame for updating its RTP under federal law. Future updates to SCS targets, along with other new transportation strategies, will help provide further emission reductions needed to achieve long-range reductions in transportation-related emissions.

Coordinated, comprehensive planning is critical to achieving deep emission reductions in the transportation sector, and must include the development of the 2014 California Freight Mobility Plan (Caltrans), the 2014 Sustainable Freight Strategy (ARB), the 2040 California Transportation Plan in 2015 (Caltrans), the 2016 SIP (ARB, SCAQMD, SJVAPCD), and all future regional sustainable community strategy and Regional Transportation Plan development and implementation. These planning efforts will need to identify the infrastructure, including fueling and intelligent transportation infrastructure, needed to support full-scale deployment of advanced technologies, improved throughput, and expanded access to rail, public transit, and active transportation.

As State agencies proceed with GHG emission reduction planning, it is necessary to integrate the need for significant NOx reductions by 2032 to meet the national ambient air quality standards for ozone. Tools developed to support these planning efforts should emphasize the needs of vulnerable communities, as recommended by EJAC. These needs include, but are not limited to: access to affordable public transit, electric vehicle charging, or other low-carbon fueling infrastructures; accessible affordable housing; and localized public health benefits.

—Draft Scoping Plan Update

Recommended key vehicle technology and fuel regulatory actions
Vehicle technology
  • “LEV IV”. The 2017 mid-term review for Advanced Clean Cars, where ARB, US EPA, and NHTSA will conduct a technical assessment of vehicle technology trends, will inform future light-duty vehicle standards targeted at continuing to achieve GHG reductions of about 5% per year through at least 2030.

  • In 2016, ARB will propose rules and/or incentives, including the “Phase 2” heavy-duty vehicle GHG standards in conjunction with U.S. EPA and NHTSA with a goal of achieving new vehicle GHG emission reductions of at least 5 percent per year.

  • For completion by 2017, ARB will engage the Office of Planning and Research (OPR) and other stakeholders to expand upon the 2013 ZEV Action Plan for medium- and heavy-duty ZEVs.

  • In 2014, ARB will propose enhancements to strengthen the LCFS. ARB will also consider extending the LCFS beyond 2020 with more aggressive long-term targets, such as a 15 to 20% reduction in average carbon intensity, below 2010 levels, by 2030.

  • By 2018, the CPUC, CEC, California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), and ARB will evaluate and adopt the necessary regulations and/or policies to further support commercial markets for low-carbon transportation fuels, including but not limited to:

    • Reducing off-peak demand charges for electricity and plug-in vehicle charging rates that strongly encourage off-peak charging both at home and at public chargers;

    • Development of large-scale renewable and low-carbon production facilities through continued funding for infrastructure;

    • Development and adoption of performance and quality standards;

    • Streamlined local permitting and siting for hydrogen fueling and charging infrastructure and utility interconnection for charging infrastructure; and

    • Research.

Systems Efficiencies. Although many system efficiency strategies identified in the 2008 Scoping Plan have been employed, including, but not limited to, ship electrification at ports, tire pressure, and fuel-efficient tires, there is a need for more, the report says.

As examples, improved pavement engineering can reduce GHG emissions through improved fuel efficiency. Connected vehicle technology can provide real-time travel information and eco-routing or eco-driving suggestions, resulting in reduced emissions. Intelligent systems that coordinate signal timing and provide real-time information to drivers about signal status can reduce emissions in urban driving by up to 10%. Truck “platooning” can reduce GHG emissions and fuel consumption in participating vehicles by about 15%.

Myriad existing and emerging technologies will lead to an increasingly connected and automated transportation system and could have dramatic efficiency and emissions benefits. … Over the next five years, it will be critical to begin planning for these vehicles on our roads and to maximize their benefits and potential for GHG emissions reductions. California is already a leader in this emerging space, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles has issued the nation’s first draft rules regulating the testing of autonomous vehicles on California’s roads, pursuant to Senate Bill 1298 (Padilla, Chapter 570, Statutes of 2012). Many are also looking to California’s I-710 corridor to begin demonstrating and deploying intelligent transportation system technologies for heavy-duty trucks. Additional research is needed to better understand the impacts these vehicles will, or can, have on GHG emissions in California’s transportation sector, and how to best integrate automated vehicles within the State’s existing and evolving vehicle, fuel, and planning policy framework. The next Scoping Plan Update will include additional detail on the role of existing systems improvements and vehicle automation in meeting California’s transportation-sector emissions reduction goals.

—Draft Scoping Plan Update

Sustainable Freight Strategy. In 2014, ARB will complete the first phase of the Sustainable Freight Strategy, which will identify and prioritize actions through at least 2020 to move California towards a sustainable freight system.

Building a coalition of freight stakeholders is a primary focus of the Strategy, and will ultimately be a significant driving force behind affecting change in areas outside of ARB’s sphere of influence, including advocating at the federal level and acquiring public and private funding for implementation.

Supporting Planning and Market Development through Targeted Investments. Incentive funding is essential to encourage use of alternative transportation modes, develop and deploy low-carbon fuels, spur fleet turnover, and continue to develop advanced technologies, the draft update asserts.

The draft update proposes leveraging available public money to scale-up clean technology markets and strategies and ensure necessary infrastructure investments, including the following:

  • ARB, CEC, CPUC, and CDFA will support growing markets for clean passenger transportation, advanced technology trucks and equipment, and low-carbon transportation fuels and energy, including any necessary infrastructure.

  • Caltrans, working with local and regional agencies, will consider lifecycle benefits and impacts (including environmental, construction, operation, and maintenance costs) for transportation infrastructure projects.

  • Caltrans and regional transportation agencies will increase investment in expanded transit and rail services, active transportation, and other VMT- reduction strategies in their next regional transportation plans.

  • SGC will support SCS implementation, including, for example, integration of the regional transportation and Regional Housing Needs Allocation planning, as well as provision of local assistance for transit, active transportation, and affordable transit-oriented housing development; therefore offering more efficient consumer choices.

Further, state agencies, including ARB and Caltrans, will incorporate into ongoing GHG planning efforts strategies that help achieve significant NOx reductions by 2032 to meet the national ambient air quality standards for ozone. The 2016 SIPs will outline attainment strategies through 2032.

Environmental Analysis. ARB is preparing an environmental analysis (EA) of the Scoping Plan Update, targeted for mid-March; the EA will be released for a 45-day public review. ARB will summarize and respond in writing to any comments submitted on the EA in a supplemental response document that will be considered by the Board for approval prior to final action on the Scoping Plan Update, projected to be sometime this Spring.



With the adoption of LEV III emissioin regulation when LEVIII is implemented post 2017, ther is no logical reason to continue the CARB, After all what could be cleaner than to require all vehicles to have ZERO emissions, the same as a pure EV, as the LEV III spec does?

CARB bureaucrats are offering a change of mission to justify their continued existence and salaries, for post LEV III becoming a GHG agency in 2025. It won't wash. With the completion of the effort to cleanse our AIR there is no need for multiple enforcement agencies. (There is none even now.) The EPA can undertake the small mission to see that the adopted regulations will continue, to ensure no backsliding. Bye Bye CARBite idiots.

OTOH there is nothing more permanent that mankind can create, than a government bureaucracy, long after the missions for which it was created no longer exists.

Sorry about that, the political drones will probably keep it alive. Long before the 2025 time frame the CARB will have a face down from the auto makers, their dealers, and the auto buying public bring unable to get their cars serviced, over the CARB' arbitrary requirements for automakers to manufacture certain rising quantities of EVs, and FCEVs.

I suspect that the CAGW/GHG scare will have run its course, joined Acid rain, Alar, Y2K, and assorted other theoretical scares on the dung heap of History. The effect is turning out to be at most, infinitesimal; and of little concern.

Id's advise the CARB to select another horse to ride in its quest to keep drawing paychecks, but these fools have never been noted for their perspicacity.


Without CARB, there would be a backsliding into the dark ages again. Simply labeling someone as a bureaucrat no longer elicits the fear. The FOX generation is dying and instead of standard fear buzzwords, the right is going to have to actually try and make sense to sensible people. An impossibility for sure but that is what they face. An inevitable extinction will be the result in my estimation.



Let's hope so.



Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Everything you have said is 100% true. I deal with CARB every day and they are giant political hacks (obviously I cannot disclose who I work for bc my corp reads this site). I would try to state the fact that they need to go away, but you've already done a great job.

For a long time, I maintained a large number of documents on a work computer (giant mistake) that listed where a few honest CARB employees openly questioned policy, and the response was (paraphrasing) "we know all these new regs are all BS, don't say anything or we'll get in trouble".

Not too long ago, my company (a very, very large industrial company that needlessly appeases CARB) had a "software update" and somehow, these docs went missing. Other less "controversial" docs were left alone, all in the same folder on my C: drive.....

CARB is no better than a terrorist organization, they hate capitalism, they hate American industry, they hate prosperity, etc.

BrotherKenny4, the EPA is well suited to run the emissions / diagnostics regulations that are currently administered by the zealots in california. Please read federal emissions laws before making such statements.

Jim McLaughlin

I work with CARB regulations often and from the industrial side. I find CARB to not only be reasonable, but also largely a benefit to industry.

All the players know we need to advance our game, and CARB plays the role of an arbitrator. Industry proposes new goals, making clear what is and is not feasible as the technology progresses, and then CARB boils all the comments down and makes a level playing field in form of regulations.

Everyone in the automotive field has benefited from the OBD regulations as they get customers back on the road faster after repairs. It is indisputable that cars are more reliable than they used to be, and a large part of this is OBD. And the exhaust after-treatment systems (EATS) allow engines to operate over a much wider range of conditions, because the EATS gets the exhaust back into a very narrow range.

Some people complain at being forced to clean up their act, others rejoice at the results.

Industry in the US can be very proud of the progress we have made over the recent decades. If you want a look at what life would be like without CARB, travel to a major city in China and breathe deeply.

Roger Pham

After CARB's success in cleaning up the air from combustion exhaust, the next mission of halting Climate Change will be more difficult. Californians are suffering from the worst drought in history and they know the importance of reining in GHG better than anyone else. PEV's and FCV's are instrumental in the continual effort to wean off fossil fuels.

>>>>"CARB is no better than a terrorist organization, they hate capitalism, they hate American industry, they hate prosperity, etc."

THis brings up an importance issue: Job loss following stricter environmental regulations and labor laws etc.
The solution for this problem need not requiring the lowering our env. and labor standards to the level of China and other outsourced destinations in order to compete. The solution simply require to assess proper tariffs of goods from countries with lower env. and labor standards than us, in order to level the playing field for US-based manufacturers.
This will not only help the US environment, but will help the environment of other countries in the world. Sooner or later, the pollution released in China will find the way around the globe to the US.

Roger Pham

The frustration of some posters here is quite reasonable. It follows that environment, labor, and health regulators etc. must act in coordination with trade regulator in order to maintain a level playing field for US-based manufacturers. Often in gov. the right hand is not aware of what the left hand is doing.


Yes, emissions and OBD regs are necessary, the problem is that they've become over zealous. And by emissions, i mean harmful emissions, not this GHG nonsense.

You cannot tell me that the 2010 NOx requirement is at all necessary. All it did was find a hyper complex and expensive solution to a smog problem that didn't exist. Think back to 2009, were we in the USA choking on smog? NO we weren't, instead our air quality was just fine. Once again, a pointless regulation based on nothing more than "we have the power to regulate, so we are, regardless of the cost/benefit".

All emissions and diagnostic regulatory functions need to be transferred to the EPA. However given that the guy in the oval office and his party know that allowing CARB to exist is all the rage with extremist groups like the Sierra Club and the NRDC, this will never happen.

The rank & file people I work with at EPA had similar opinions about CARB, they found ARB to be a giant nuisance whose only existence was due to politics.



You sound like you work for CARB.

Aftertreatment systems don't necessarily open up engine operating conditions. It's not like automakers make a choice between EGR or SCR, they use both b/c the NOx requirements are so arbitrarily tight.

Not to mention by adding these complex aftertreatment systems, a whole mess of control logic is needed to bring components up to temperature, which in many cases means fuel being wasted for no power generation.

Roger Pham

Good point, O TOLMON.

There is no need to lower NOx to below T2 B5 level for all new vehicle sold, because NOx and smog problem beyond T2B5 is only significant in very hot summer days in very big cities. It is more cost-effective to pick the low-hanging fruits first, that is untreated diesel engines and old cars with incompetent emission control system, and coal power plants.

The move to solar and wind will help shut down coal power plants gradually, while the move to HEV's, PHEV's, BEV's, and FCV's will eventually solve the problem entirely in time, without undue hardship on automakers and the public trying to afford new vehicles.

Over-regulation can backfire, in that it creates distrust and resentment.


Thamk you for your commentary.

For those who believe with out CARB we would backslide into Chinese pollution, I would say that you must think think the EPA is useless. Fine! Do away with that redundant organization instead.

But then who would prevent backsliding in the other 49 states, if not the EPA.

You enviros (or perhaps CARBite employees?) forget that the other 48 states, minus CA and Texas, already meet the AIR Quality measures of the EPA, (which are the same as CARB), while Texas and California, in particular, governed by the CARB, do not.

So on that objective basis, who has done the better job of regulation?

Bureaucratic Redundancy is the issue, not deregulation of Clean Air.



Sadly, for the past 40 yrs or so, the auto industry is the low hanging fruit, something that politicians can use as their punching bag with no consequence.....


D: Deregulation isnt the idea, the idea is to get rid of needless regulations. As long as CARB is in charge (thanks to politics), we will never have a logical regulatory system...

Thank you for your logical analysis, always appreciated!

Despite the fact that California leads the nation in clean air regulations, the air quality problems are still serious enough that in LA and the San Joaquin Valley, 15,000 people die prematurely each year - 15 years early, because those areas do not meet EPA standards.

Clearly, we are not there yet, and we haven't even started talking about CO2.

If you haven't kept up with the studies that identify the extent of the problem, just take a flight over LA or the central valley in a GA aircraft. 6,500 feet or so should do it.

Take a look out the window. Are we there yet?


THe ZEV LEV II Regulations slated to go into effect are fine but duplicative of the EPA's T2B2 tightening.

CARB has not succeeeded, yet. If it went out of business tommorow the Air would continue to get cleaner, as older more polluting cars are replaced.

You seem to be an EV proponent, as am I, but only when EV technology is ready economically as well. In any case, the ICE actually will do a better job of cleanup under the ZEV mandate (LEV III) for all, as they actually clean the Air as they operate, while EVs do not.

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