California ARB votes to move forward with light-duty vehicle GHG and ZEV programs through 2025; cranking it up post-2025
After considering the Advanced Clean Cars Midterm Review (earlier post), the California Air Resources Board voted unanimously on Friday to continue with the vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards and ZEV program for cars and light trucks sold in California through 2025. The action ensures that California and 12 other states that follow its vehicle regulations—one third of the US auto market—will move forward the greenhouse gas emission standards adopted in the 2012 process involving the federal government, California and the automakers.
The Board also voted to support the expansion of the ZEV marketplace before 2025, calling for redoubling current efforts underway to support market growth and paving the way for new regulations to increase rapidly the number of zero-emission vehicles required to be sold in California after 2025.
The Advanced Clean Cars program was approved as an integrated regulatory package in January 2012, brining together LEV III standards for criteria pollutants and greenhouse gas standards. (Earlier post.) Later that year, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued the final rule for greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for MYs 2017-2025 for passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles. (Earlier post.) California committed to accept national program compliance for model years 2017 through 2025 (as it did for MYs 2012 through 2016) with the understanding that it would provide equivalent or better overall greenhouse gas reductions nationwide than California’s program. All agencies agreed to a Mid-Term Review of the feasibility of the standards for the end of the regulatory period.
The Board vote was supported by representatives from the 12 states that have adopted California’s standards. Those states together have a population of 113 million and constitute roughly 30% of the nation’s new car sales. Senior environmental officials from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Oregon testified at the hearing on Friday to urge the Board’s approval.
The Board action affirmed the multi-year staff assessment and analysis that concluded that the established standards for model years 2022-25 are appropriate and feasible. The staff assessment found that the technology to achieve them is not only currently available, but has exceeded the original expectations, both for level of development and cost, when the standards were adopted with automaker support in 2012.
The Board’s vote reached the same conclusion as the US Environmental Protection Agency in its final determination in January on the federal greenhouse gas emission standards for model years 2022-25. Last week, the Trump administration rescinded that decision, and announced that it intends to reconsider the final determination in coordination with the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency, which is responsible for setting the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards.
The 637-page CARB staff report included an analysis of the Technical Assessment Report developed by California and the federal agencies, which was released last July. (Earlier post.) The CARB staff report also includes the first comprehensive, in-depth analysis of the zero-emission vehicle market in California, including valuable new consumer research to assess the benefits and use profiles of ZEVs now operating in California.
Based on these findings, the Board also voted to pursue policies to support more than 4 million zero-emission vehicles in California by 2030, and established a goal to continue reducing average fleet-wide greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles by 4-5% per year between 2025 and 2030.
With the midterm review now in the rearview mirror, we look forward to accelerating our efforts to develop the next set of California vehicle standards. California is also moving forward to accelerate deployment of fuel cell and battery electric cars. That will put us on track to meeting our clean air and climate goals for 2030 and also align California with current advanced vehicle technology research and investment in the global auto marketplace.—CARB Deputy Executive Officer Alberto Ayala
California, with nearly half of all zero-emission vehicles in the nation, has several programs in place to further support the growing electric car marketplace. The state offers rebates to new buyers or lessees of zero-emission vehicles, is rapidly scaling the infrastructure for charging electric cards and fueling hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and agencies are pursuing nearly 200 actions to support the market, as identified in the Governor’s 2016 ZEV Action Plan.
The Board expressed its commitment to support the ZEV marketplace by continuing complementary programs such as the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, and redoubling efforts on continued state incentives, utility infrastructure programs, and expanded public education programs, such as the newly established initiative through Veloz, formerly the California Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative.