CARB Expands Rules


Last Friday, the California Air Resources Board unanimously voted in the expansion of the rules stipulated in the Advanced Clean Car guidelines. The Board projects that the program would increase the number of zero and near zero emission vehicles in the state by 1.4 million when 2025 comes around.

The specifics of the plan include half a million vehicles would run on either battery-electric or fuel cell models. These vehicles would not produce tailpipe emissions while the other 900,000 would be plug-in hybrids. These plug-in hybrids qualify as transitional zero-emission vehicles.

The Board’s recommendation was widely lauded by environmentalists and carmakers even before the votation was concluded. One provision of the resolution is still being closely observed by many cause oriented and environmental groups. This particular provision allows a carmaker that passed current federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations in a specific year to add up credits as earnings. These credits earned would be applied in years after they were earned, allowing the carmaker to delay the mandate in building zero-emission vehicles.

Plug In America, the non-profit group advocating an accelerated shift to plug-in vehicles has called the specific provision as a “loophole which will cause the loss of hundreds of thousands of plug-in cars in California.”

In response, CARB Chairperson Mary Nichols said that the decision of the Board on the overcompliance credits as an integral part of the overall plan.

One of the carmakers testifying for the overcompliance rule was Hyundai. In a statement, the carmaker said, “This flexibility allows Hyundai to significantly overcomply with CAFÉ and build a somewhat smaller number of zero-emission vehicles for a short time between 2018 and 2021.”

Hyundai’s Product Development Vice President Mike O’Brien added, “It will lead to more greenhouse gas reductions by Hyundai without the provision.”

The state of California’s program is scheduled to be started at the 2018 model year. This is part and parcel of a wider range of regulations also approved by the Board, such as building of hydrogen filing stations for fuel-cell vehicles, reduction in greenhouse gases and other smog creating pollutants.

The CARB Chair said that the wide support base of the measure from environmental organizations, consumers and carmakers made the decision of the Board “one of the easiest decisions we’ve had to make.”

These other regulations include the reduction of greenhouse gases from new cars in California by thirty four percent from 2016 levels. This would also include the creation of 21,000 jobs in California by 2025. It is projected by 2025 that there would be one in seven new cars sold throughout California would either be battery powered, fuel cell powered or plug-in hybrid powered.