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California ARB releases Midterm Review of clean emission vehicle programs

19 January 2017

The California Air Reources Board (ARB) has released a Midterm Review of Advanced Clean Cars Program report that focuses on three clean vehicle regulations: (1) light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards for 2022 and later model years, (2) zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) regulation, and (3) the LEV III 1 mg/mi PM emission standard.

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GHG Regulations. The review of GHG regulations is largely based on the Technical Assessment Report released by the ARB, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in July 2016. ARB staff’s recommendations align with the Final Determination signed on January 12, 2017 by the EPA, confirming the federal GHG vehicle standards for the 2022-2025 model years are appropriate.

However, ARB staff also found that the national program is “very modest in terms of promoting electrification needed to meet California’s public health and environmental needs beyond 2025”. The report recommends that California make a major push now to develop new post-2025 standards while working with automakers, federal regulators and partner states to further develop the market for electric cars.

ZEV Program. Zero-emission vehicle technology is advancing at a much faster pace than anticipated, finds the report. Through August 2016, almost 230,000 ZEVs and PHEVs have been registered in California, with an additional 62,000 in nine Section 177 states that have adopted California’s ZEV regulation. These vehicles represent more than half of the half-million ZEVs and PHEVs on the US roads. The report recommends to strengthen the ZEV program for 2026 and later model years, to continue on the path towards meeting California’s 2030 and later climate change and air quality targets.

1 mg/mi PM Standard. The stringency and implementation schedule of the 1 mg/mi PM emission standard applicable in 2025 model year should be maintained. In October 2015, the ARB has concluded a technical feasibility study, which determined that the gravimetric PM test method is capable of measuring emission levels down to below 1 mg/mi. ARB staff also determined that compliance with the 1 mg/mi emission standard by 2025 model year is feasible.

The ARB Board will consider the Midterm Review at the March 23-24 hearing in Riverside, California. Stakeholders may submit comments on the report until March 20, 2017.

Source: California ARB