|Process for determining compliance status. Source: EPA. Click to enlarge.|
For the second consecutive model year, the automotive industry outperformed the national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards by a wide margin, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) second annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Light Duty Vehicles: Manufacturer’s Performance Report.
Overall industry compliance in model year 2013 was 12 grams/mile— or 1.4 miles per gallon—better than required by the 2013 standard. (Industry compliance in 2012 was 11 grams/mile better than required.) EPA’s GHG emissions standards cover light-duty vehicles from model year 2012 to 2025. Findings of this year’s report included:
While the industry-wide GHG standard decreased by 7 grams/mile from 2012 to 2013, manufacturers outpaced this increase in stringency by reducing compliance values by 9 grams/mile in 2013.
Most large manufacturers achieved fleet GHG compliance values lower than required by their unique 2013 standard and thus generated credits in the 2013 model year. Nine of the 13 manufacturers with sales greater than 100,000 vehicles beat their standard, with margins of compliance ranging from 27 grams/mile (Hyundai) to 4 grams/mile (GM). The remaining four manufacturers missed their unique 2013 standard by amounts ranging from 1 to 6 grams/mile, thus generating deficits, but in all cases these companies shrank their deficit relative to the 2012 model year. The four manufacturers that did not outperform their 2013 standard—Fiat Chrysler (Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Maserati, Ram); Mercedes (Maybach, Mercedes, Smart); BMW (BMW, Mini, Rolls-Royce); and Volkswagen (Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Volkswagen)—had sufficient credits available from prior model years and thus complied with the 2012 and 2013 standards.
The majority of manufacturers, representing more than 99% of US sales, are in compliance with the standards for both the 2012 and 2013 model years. 21 of 26 manufacturers are carrying a positive credit balance into the 2014 model year—i.e., they have met both the 2012 and 2013 standards (credits cannot be carried forward if a deficit exists in a prior model year).
The manufacturers currently with deficits in the 2012 and/or 2013 model year are allowed to carry those deficits forward for three model years, giving them time to generate or purchase credits to demonstrate compliance with the 2012 and/or 2013 model year standards. The current status of these manufacturers is neither compliance nor non-compliance – rather, they have not yet demonstrated compliance. The credit balances shown below include “early credits” from model year 2009 that may not be sold and may not be used after the 2014 model year.
The flexibilities built into the program include standards based on vehicle size (“footprint”); emissions averaging within car and truck fleets; credit trading between car and truck fleets; optional programs to generate credits; and processes to bank and/or trade credits. The result is that manufacturers can meet the standards while meeting consumer demand for a wide variety of vehicles, from high-performance vehicles to fuel-efficient hybrids, and from full-size pickups to small cars.
In addition, the optional credit programs are facilitating the development and introduction of new technology. GM and Honda, for example, introduced a new and significantly lower-GHG air conditioning refrigerant to the US automotive market in 2013 which lowered GHG emissions and helped them meet the GHG standards. Credit exchanges within and between companies also provide more flexibility in the program.
Incentives for advanced technology. EPA’s GHG program contains incentives for advanced technology vehicles: electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles (and, starting with the 2017 model year, CNG vehicles).
For the 2012-2016 model years, the incentive program allows electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles to use a zero grams/mile compliance value, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles may use zero grams/mile to represent the use of grid electricity (i.e., only emissions are “counted” from the gasoline engine operation). Use of the zero grams/mile option is limited to the first 200,000 qualified vehicles produced by a manufacturer in the 2012-2016 model years. Electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that were included in a manufacturer’s calculations of early credits also count against the production limits.
All manufacturers of advanced technology vehicles in the 2012 and 2013 model years are well below the cumulative 200,000 vehicle limit for the 2012-2016 model years—i.e., all manufacturers remain eligible to continue to use zero grams/mile.
If a manufacturer reaches the cumulative production limit before the 2017 model year, then advanced technology vehicles produced beyond the limit must account for the net upstream emissions associated with their vehicles’ use of grid electricity relative to vehicles powered by gasoline. Based on vehicle electricity consumption data (which includes vehicle charging losses) and assumptions regarding GHG emissions from today’s national average electricity generation and grid transmission losses, a midsize electric vehicle might have upstream GHG emissions of about 180 grams/mile, compared to the upstream GHG emissions of a typical midsize gasoline car of about 60 grams/mile. Thus, the electric vehicle would have a net upstream emissions value of about 120 grams/mile.
As an example, Tesla can record zero grams/mile for the 2013 model year. Without the incentive, however, the fleet average GHG emissions for Tesla would in fact be about 122 grams/mile. As another example, with the Nissan LEAF at 0 g/mile, the overall impact on Nissan’s passenger car fleet is an improvement of two grams/mile, allowing them to generate almost 360,000 Mg of credits more than if the incentive provisions were not in place. Without the incentive, LEAF’s calculated net upstream value is 70 grams/mile.