CARB Green-Lights Clean Air Efforts with Next-Gen Vehicles, Fuels

Incidentally there is one automaker, which has even been making cars for ten years at this point, which will be able to meet the new emissions targets with 100% of their current and future models, including the quickest production vehicle in the world, without having to spend any extra money to re-engineer those models.

Just weeks after President Trump signaled he's ready to roll back tough federal vehicle fuel standards, California's clean-air authority on Friday affirmed that it won't budge on its own tough standards.

Nichols chastised the industry for seeking the review of federal standards that Trump agreed to reopen earlier this month.

"To the industry representatives. what were you thinking when you threw yourselves on the mercy of the Trump administration to try to solve your problems?"

"Today's decision by the air board is appropriate and consistent with a thorough review that shows vehicle technology is progressing faster than expected, enabling automakers to cost-effectively meet the standards through 2025, and go even further".

The state's review of standards for 2022 to 2025 mirrors previous findings by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that the targets are appropriate.

California on Friday challenged the Trump administration's method to vehicle pollution, approving standards that the White House stated still require review and establishing a potential face-off between federal and state regulators.

The emissions rules require automakers to average 54.5mpg (by the less stringent CAFE standard) over all new vehicles by 2025.

"The Trump administration has backed away from efforts to develop a federal rule to curb methane leaks from existing facilities - the nation's largest source of methane pollution", Mary Nichols, CARB chair, said in a statement immediately after the vote.

He said automakers want to improve mileage and reduce emissions, but want to do so in a data-driven way that balances "prior assumptions against new market realities" and takes into account auto jobs and vehicle affordability.

Pippin Mader, a CARB engineer, said the state may have to return to insisting on compliance with its own standards if the Trump administration dials back those at the national level. A growing industry aimed at improving drilling methods and reducing natural gas leaks has taken off, employing people in almost every state including California.

ZEV sales in California accelerated in 2016, rising more than 18% compared to the previous year.

Others aren't so sure, fearing that automakers would be happy to scrap strict regulations for short-term gain.

Daniel Sperling, a member of the California Air Resources Board, the state's air quality enforcer with a hard-nosed reputation, said that "California is committed to being part of this process over the next year".

Environmentalists said the changes are welcome but that California must continue to clamp down on "dirty oil and gas operations". The CARB rules will also mean more "zero emission vehicles" powered by batteries and fuel cells, and tough new standards on particulate matter pollution. "We hope that regulators will provide ample time for implementation and ensure that the program is fairly and consistently enforced across the state". In response to Friday's vote, the director of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation said "we've come a long way together...we're with you, and we believe in what you're doing". But, the Trump Administration is more anxious about protecting jobs and providing consumers with affordable cars.

  • Carolyn Briggs