California Supports EPA’s Emissions Ruling And Wants to Carry It Farther

California’s air quality agency released its own midterm review report Wednesday finding the state hitting vehicle emissions targets and pushing to extend the nationwide rules beyond 2025.

The California Air Resource Board published an exhaustive 667-page Midterm Review of Advanced Clean Cars Program report, finding that the state’s original intentions are being met. The technology innovations and diverse electric vehicle offerings are falling into place to go well beyond the 2025 target, CARB said.

The report analyzed the state’s greenhouse gas standards, “technology-forcing zero-emission vehicle standards,” and public health-related particulate matter standards. One of the report’s finding is that California will add at least one million zero-emission vehicles to its roads by 2025.

CARB said the review started last year in tandem with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with the release of their Technical Assessment Report. That process resulted in the federal government’s midterm evaluation decision from last week on the 2022-2025 model year phase of the fuel economy and emissions rules.

CARB’s staff came to a similar conclusion as the EPA’s ruling last week – the conventional technology being adopted by automakers to achieve the mandate’s targets is moving at a faster pace than expected. Achieving the emissions limits is feasible, and will bring fuel cost savings to consumers.

California’s air quality agency would like to see the national mandate carried even further. Governments and corporations will need to cooperate to grow the market, CARB said.

The CARB staff, “recommends that California make a major push now to develop new post-2025 standards while working with automakers, federal regulators and partner states to further develop the market for electric cars,” according to a statement.

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The CARB report also sees California’s zero emission vehicle regulation working to accelerate more technological and market development to bring down manufacturing costs. That will come from “manufacturing efficiency, vehicle improvements and cost reductions that come with increased production.”

The CARB study reports that there are now more than a quarter million zero emission vehicles on California roads and more than a half million nationally. Market conditions look very good for these numbers to grow, with automakers rolling out more than 20 plug-in electrified (all-electric and plug-in hybrid) models in the next few years. Seeing several new battery electric models surpassing the 200-miles per charge benchmark at mass-market prices; along with offering consumers a wide variety of PEV choices in body styles, brands, and consumer utility through SUV and crossover models.

California’s ZEV mandate is well positioned to have a national impact beyond the federal fuel economy rules. With nine other states following California’s ZEV rules, the impact will be substantial as new vehicle sales in these 10 states represent more than a quarter of all new vehicle sales nationally, CARB reported.

The CARB report also examined challenges California faces to meet its ZEV targets. One area that must be addressed is the infrastructure, with more charging stations and hydrogen fueling stations needed; and greater public awareness as to “the benefits and drivability of ZEVs.

Washington legislators and automakers are interested in seeing what the new EPA chief will decide to do on national fuel economy standards and California’s rules.

On Wednesday, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who will soon be EPA administrator if approved, responded to inquiries during a Senate confirmation hearing on his appointment. Along with reviewing the EPA’s rule and timetable the agency approved last week, he will be looking over California’s role in the emissions standards.

Pruitt hasn’t indicated whether he will commit to allowing California to keep its rule in place.


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