On January 27th, 2012, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved a new emissions control program that is likely to change the new car landscape. The Advanced Clean Cars program combines the control of smog-causing pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as requirements for greater numbers of zero-emission vehicles, into a single package of standards for vehicle model years 2017 through 2025.
The Advanced Clean Cars program is composed of four components:
- Greenhouse Gas Standard for Cars and Light Trucks, Model Years 2017-2025. The new greenhouse gas standard builds on California’s existing standard, which was the first of its kind, and was later adopted in 2010 by the federal government as part of a national program. The new rules strengthen the greenhouse gas standard for 2017 models and beyond by requiring that greenhouse gas emissions be reduced by 34 percent compared to 2016 levels. This will be achieved through existing technologies, the use of stronger and lighter materials, and more efficient drivetrains and engines.
- Reducing Smog-Forming Emissions. In parallel with the required greenhouse gas emissions reduction, California will reduce smog-forming pollution by an additional 75 percent from 2014 levels to help meet more stringent federal air quality standards expected in the next few years. This regulation will drive the development of the cleanest cars yet that use diesel, gasoline, or gas-electric hybrid internal combustion engines.
- Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Regulation. The new ZEV regulation is the most significant change to the ZEV program in its 20-year history, requiring battery, fuel cell, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to account for up to 15 percent of California's new vehicle sales by 2025.
- Clean Fuels Outlet. The new regulation is designed to support the commercialization of zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell vehicles planned by vehicle manufacturers by 2015 by requiring increased numbers of hydrogen fueling stations throughout the state. The number of stations will grow as vehicle manufacturers sell more fuel cell vehicles.
These new rules will reduce emissions from gasoline and diesel-powered cars, and deliver increasing numbers of zero-emission technologies, such as full battery electric cars, newly emerging plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell cars. The package will also ensure adequate fueling infrastructure is available for the increasing numbers of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles planned for deployment in California.