Proposed California EV regs could be adopted by other states

The state is going to require that 35% of new car and light-duty vehicle sales be zero-emission models by 2026.

The state is going to require that 35% of new car and light-duty vehicle sales be zero-emission models by 2026. And by 2035, the state wants 100% of new car and light-duty vehicle sales to be zero-emission models.

CARB is going to enact a new rule that will set new standards for emissions from vehicles. This rule will be based on the Advanced Clean Cars program. 16 other states follow California's rules, so they will also have to adopt this rule.

The ACC program sets regulations for emissions from light-duty cars and trucks. This includes both greenhouse gases and smog-forming pollutants. The ACC also requires that a certain number of zero-emission vehicles be sold in the state each year. These may be plug-in electric or hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles.

The proposed California regulations could influence federal policy as well. Said Alice Henderson, director and senior attorney for transportation and clean air policy at the Environmental Defense Fund: "It lays the groundwork for the national program and will further encourage the investments that will enable [the Environmental Protection Agency] to set the national standards that we need to meet our climate goals."

The proposed update to the current program will set increasing targets for each model year beginning in 2026. This means that by 2030, 35% of new car and light-duty sales must be zero-emission models, and by 2035, this number must reach 68%. Finally, by 2040 all new car and light-duty sales must be zero-emission models.

A report from EDF found that if we want to achieve the 2035 zero-emission sales goal, it would avoid more than 60 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year by 2040. The report also cited public health benefits that could result in up to 380 fewer premature deaths and more than 20,000 fewer lost workdays every year by 2040.

More than 1 million electric vehicles have been sold in California. This is due, in part, to state regulations from 1990 that required auto manufacturers to sell electric vehicles. Now, 30 years later, California reportedly sells more plug-in electric vehicles than the next 10 states combined. Electric vehicles have also been a big export for the state.

According to Andy Wunder, a Western states advocate for E2 and a business leader, the strong policy leadership from Sacramento over the past 20 years has helped California become a global hub of clean vehicle innovation and development.

Some observers want stricter requirements. Don Anair, research and deputy director of the clean transportation program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in a statement that the proposed ACC II regulations “should serve as a floor rather than a ceiling.”

Bill Magavern, policy director at the Coalition for Clean Air, said that the group is asking CARB to require that 75% of all new cars sold in California in 2030 have no tailpipe pollution. According to CARB, California will need many more EV chargers as more plug-in vehicles hit the road. California had 78,394 installed chargers in 2021 but estimates it will need 714,000 chargers to serve 5 million EVs by the end of this decade.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is requesting an additional $6.1 billion in the state's 2022-2023 budget to improve access to electric vehicle chargers in low-income neighborhoods. This would include $256 million for consumer purchases and $900 million to expand affordable and convenient charging stations.

In the near future, around 500 public electric vehicle chargers will be available to Los Angeles residents, including designated disadvantaged areas such as South Los Angeles, Boyle Heights and Pico-Union. The chargers are funded by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and CARB, and are operated by Blink Charging. Many of these chargers are replacing parking meters, which makes them readily available for use every day, said Brendan Jones, president of Blink Charging. "These are in low-income areas and these are going to provide access," he added.

CARB is accepting public comments in advance of a June 9 board meeting. They plan to finalize the proposed rules this August. Henderson said, "California needs to quickly finalize the standard this year," so that other states will have enough time to begin implementing the updates to their clean car programs.

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