California Announces Intention to Cut Vehicle GHG Emissions 30 Percent

On September 24, 2004, the California Air Resources Board voted to issue regulations implementing legislation passed in 2002. The legislation directs the ARB to adopt regulations that would achieve the "maximum feasible and cost-effective reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles." The standard will require that tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles be reduced by 22 percent by the 2012 model year and 30 percent by the 2016 model year. Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont currently follow California’s vehicle emission standards, and may opt to either adopt the new regulations, or fall back to federal standards. New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut have already indicated that they will follow California’s standard. The cost-effective reduction measures identified by the staff include discrete variable valve lift, dual cam phasing, turbocharging with engine downsizing, automated manual transmissions, and camless valve actuation. The ARB expects that the regulations will add around $1000 to the cost of a new car in 2014 but that the increased up-front cost will be more than offset by decreased operating costs over the life of the vehicle. The regulation will apply only to model years 2009 and later. The Board considered the final staff proposal at a public hearing in September 2004, and the ARB is required by law to adopt standards by January 1, 2005. The standards will not enter into effect until January 1, 2006, to give the legislature time to review the regulations and modify them, if necessary.

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