California’s Advanced Clean Car Package EPA-Approved

California’s Advanced Clean Car package including Zero Emission Vehicle and Low Emission Vehicle standards got green-lighted.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave yesterday the OK to California to put in place its Advanced Clean Cars package of regulations.

This sets the stage for a new generation of ultra-clean cars starting in 2017 that slash smog-forming and greenhouse gas emissions and pave the way for increased numbers of zero-emission vehicles through 2025 and beyond.

This announcement by the U.S.E.P.A. also clears the way for other states covering up to 40 percent of new car sales nationally to adopt California’s standards as their own. According to the California Air Resources Board (ARB), this will ensure that the latest technologies will further reduce smog-forming emissions nearly to zero and boost the numbers of zero-emission vehicles sold through 2025.

“This decision by the federal government recognizes California’s important role under the Clean Air Act to set the toughest vehicle emissions standards in the nation, ,” said Air Resources Board Chairman Mary D. Nichols. “It also allows other states to adopt California’s package of clean car regulations, helping clean up the air and save consumers nationwide billions of dollars at the pump.”

The Advanced Clean Car package includes the Low Emission Vehicle standard (LEV III) regulation, designed to reduce by 75 percent smog-causing pollutants in gasoline powered vehicles by 2025 from 2017 levels. The ARB states this standard will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions from those same vehicles by 34 percent, a figure that parallels federal regulations.

California’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) standard will drive a shift from gasoline engines to a wider variety of fuel sources, including plug-in hybrids, electric and fuel cell vehicles. These vehicles approach or achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions.

By 2025 the ZEV regulations are expected by the authorities to put 1.4 million of these vehicles on the road in California, and make them represent 15 percent of annual new vehicle sales, with further dramatic growth expected through 2050 and beyond.

The state of California pushed these regulations forward as cars are considered by this state to be their largest source of air pollution and greenhouse gases. California’s Advanced Clean Car Program aims to continue to drive new vehicle technology, accelerating the next generation of clean cars that are already commercially available.

According to the ARB, economically, California drivers will save $5 billion in operating costs in 2025, and $10 billion by 2030 when more advanced cars are on the road. In 2025, average consumers will see nearly $6,000 in fuel cost savings over the life of the car, nearly triple the estimated per vehicle cost. Based on typical financing for a new vehicle, savings accrue the minute the car drives off the lot.