California regulators to update vehicle emission requirements as state seeks to spur EV transition

California officials plan to update the emissions requirements for vehicles in order to speed up the transition to electric cars

California officials plan to update the emissions requirements for vehicles in order to speed up the transition to electric cars

  • This week, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released proposed new regulations to update the state’s passenger vehicle emission standards and zero-emission vehicle requirements.
  • Equity and health advocates from California are pushing for stronger rules to make sure that disadvantaged communities have access to electric cars. Partida-López said, "We want to see something that is really pushing automakers to do more for our low-income communities." The Greenlining Institute is a nonprofit organization that works to support communities of color.
  • After releasing the draft regulations, there will be a 45-day public comment period. There will be public hearings in June and August where people can give their opinion on the new regulations. The board will vote on whether to approve the new regulations at that time.

CARB (the California Air Resources Board) wants all sales of new passenger cars and trucks in California to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035. To help reach this goal, new regulations will reduce emissions from new fossil fuel-powered vehicles beginning in the model year 2026. These regulations will also reduce exposure to vehicle pollutants in frontline communities.

"We hope that the draft rule makes electric vehicles more common," said Partida-Lopez. However, new electric vehicles are too expensive for many people. The average price of an electric vehicle in March 2022 was $65,977, according to data released by Kelley Blue Book this week. Partida-Lopez wants automakers to be required to provide discounted vehicles that are available to these communities through existing mechanisms such as CARB's Clean Cars 4 All program.

Kevin Hamilton, co-director and co-founder of the Central California Asthma Collaborative, agrees that regulations need to be put in place to ensure a certain percentage of low-income people have access to affordable, family-friendly vehicles.

CARB has said that since 2014, California climate investments totaling $5.2 billion have gone to disadvantaged or low-income communities and households. The ACC II program is expected to reduce emissions of reactive organic gasses and oxides of nitrogen, along with small particulate matter by 2040. Cumulative greenhouse gas emissions from 2026 to 2040 are also estimated to be reduced by 440 million metric tons of carbon dioxide as a result of these regulations.

This week, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) issued a press release stating that Governor Gavin Newsom is committed to ensuring that communities most burdened by air pollution share in the benefits of cleaner transportation options, air quality, increased energy efficiency, and more livable communities.

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