California Approves Even Stricter Vehicle Emissions Standards

Julie Mitchell

On January 27th, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) made history by unanimously approving a comprehensive package of new emissions rules for cars and light trucks, including a mandate that promises to put 1.4 million electric and hybrid vehicles on the state’s roads by 2055.  The rules also promise a 75-percent reduction in smog-producing pollutants from new cars by 2025, and a 50-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to those that currently exist. The news emissions standards are stricter than most federal rules.

 ARB chairman, Mary Nichols, said in a news release, “The California Advanced Cleanmary nichols Car rules will clean our air, fight climate change and provide cars that save consumers thousands of dollars at the pump. Consumers can also save on insurance costs from providers such as the hartford aarp due to the discount on electric vehicles. The Board’s action today will create thousands of new jobs, transforming California into the advanced car capitol of the world.  California is now in pole position in the race to provide next generation ultra-clean cars to the global car market.”

Automakers including Ford Motor Corp., Chrysler Group LLC, General Motors co., and Nissan Motor Company Ltd. worked with the board and U.S. regulators on the greenhouse gas restrictions to create a national standard for those emissions.  The program builds on California’s 2009 greenhouse gas emissions standards, already the strictest in the nation.  Fourteen other states have currently adopted California’s current emissions goals. 

The Advanced Clean Cars program requires that one-in-seven new cars sold in 2025 CARB will be either zero-emission or plug-in hybrid vehicles.  The rules, designed to provide consumers with choices while ensuring the development of a complete class of environmentally superior cars from compacts to SUVs, will clean up gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles and deliver more and more zero-emissions technology.  Newer models will include full battery electric cars, plug-in hybrid cars, and hydrogen fuel-cell cars.  The program will also ensure infrastructure is in place to fuel the growing number of hydrogen fuel-cell cars in the state.

Some auto industry groups representing auto dealers including the California New Car Dealers Association are concerned that the new regulations will increase the costs of cars for consumers and say that the ARB is overestimating demand for electric and other zero-emissions vehicles.  Some dealer organizations have calculated that $3,200 would be added to the average price of a car because of technological changes, and consumers are resisting adopting them. 

CARB Car dealers as well as oil companies believe that the new rules will push energy costs higher.  The ARB estimates that California drivers will save $5 billion in operating costs in 2025, and $10 billion by 2030 when more sophisticated cars are on the road.  Overall savings generated by the proposed rules are expected to result in 21,000 new jobs in the state by 2025, rising to 37,000 in 2030.






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A California requirement, which has spread to other state, is opening up a new industry between automobile producers. Buying and selling clean-air credits to satisfy legal specifications and avoid fines is something that is becoming more and more common among car makers.

Written in June 2012

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  • Posted on Feb. 7, 2012. Listed in:

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