At the end of last week, the Virginia State Senate passed HB 1965, which directs the State Air Pollution Control Board to implement a low-emissions and zero-emissions vehicle program for motor vehicles with a model year of 2025 and later.
With this rule, Virginia joins 14 other states and the District of Columbia in adopting clean car standards. This bill will go to Governor Northam’s desk to sign and enact into law.
Transportation accounts for the greatest share (48%) of greenhouse gas emissions in Virginia, and associated air pollution from cars and trucks is also an immediate health risk. A 2020 report from Virginia Clinicians for Climate Action found that fine particulate matter pollution (PM2.5) from Virginia’s cars and light trucks contributes to 92 deaths, 71 non-fatal heart attacks and 2,600 child asthma attacks every year.
The health impacts from reducing vehicle emissions are disproportionate across Virginia, as elderly, lower income and minority populations experience a 61% higher death rate attributable to vehicle air pollution.