California Zero Emissions Bill Scrapped, For Now

A bill in California’s state Legislature that would have required 15 percent of new car sales be zero-emission vehicles, either battery-electric or hydrogen powered, by 2025 has been withdrawn, for now.

Democratic Assemblywoman Autumn Burke of Los Angeles announced her proposal last week, saying the existing zero-emission vehicle mandates were too weak to require significant new investments by automakers.

Her bill would have also made plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), which include a gas engine, ineligible to comply with the mandate.

“With just a week and a half to move the bill through, there just wasn’t enough time to overcome the opposition,” Allison Ruff, a spokeswoman for the legislator told Reuters.

Proponents had promised to allow for the thorough examination and debate the topic merits, but Ruff said strong opposition came from a variety of groups including the Western States Petroleum Association,” which represents oil companies.

SEE ALSO: California Plug-in Sales Led The US Last Year With Nearly Five-Times Greater Market Share

Other critics warned that any omission of plug-in hybrids benefits companies such as Tesla at the expense of others trying to innovate by other means than just battery-electric vehicles.

Burke plans to meet with stakeholders and introduce a new version of the bill in 2017, Ruff said.

The current regulations established by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) mandate that carmakers meet quotas for zero-emissions vehicles by either selling cars or purchasing credits from other automakers who have excess numbers of credits from their sales.

The regulations have been adopted by nine other states.

CARB’s rules have been criticized by environmentalists who say the system suffers from an oversupply of credits; yet more than half of the some 400,000 electric vehicles in the United States operate in California.

Automotive News