California ARB Backs White House Program for Medium- and Heavy-Duty and Next Phase of Light-Duty Vehicle GHG and Fuel Economy Standards; Looking for LDV Improvements on the Order of 3-6% Annually

California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols Obama’s announcement of the first-ever national policy to increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution from medium- and heavy-duty trucks for model years 2014-2018. (Earlier post.)

Nichols also said that California will work with Federal agencies on the next phase of light-duty vehicle GHG and fuel economy standards for model years 2017-2025. In April, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jointly established increasingly stringent fuel economy standards under DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Corporate Average Fuel Economy program and greenhouse gas emission standards under the Clean Air Act for 2012 through 2016 model-year vehicles. (Earlier post.)

California had agreed to defer to the proposed national standard through model year 2016 rather than proceeding with implementing the Pavley greenhouse gas standards for light duty vehicles. The 2016 endpoint of the two standards—Pavley I and the new national standard—are essentially the same, although the national standard is using an attribute-based approach (consistent with the new CAFE), while California’s standard used the older approach of vehicle type. The national program ramps up slightly more slowly than the California program envisioned, but does get to the same fleet average endpoint.

However, California is beginning work on the second phase of Pavley regulations (Pavley II), linked with the LEV III and ZEV initiatives. (Earlier post.)

California supports the emission regulations and fuel economy standards jointly adopted by United States Environmental

Protection Agency (EPA) and United States Department of Transportation’s National

Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), announced on April 1, 2010,

for model year 2012-2016 passenger vehicles. California has incorporated these

national standards into its motor vehicle emissions program. These new standards,

however, must be followed by additional action in order to continue the impressive

reductions already in place up to 2016. The process for developing new standards

must begin now so that the automobile industry will have ample time to develop and

implement the technologies needed to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and

improve fuel economy.

In exercising its longstanding Clean Air Act authority, California has initiated first steps

to develop the next combined emission standards for both criteria and greenhouse gas

pollutants for model years 2017-2025. Workshops have been held and more are

planned for the summer of 2010. The goal, as with California’s model year 2009-2016

emission standards, is that compliance with new national standards after 2016 may

serve to meet the new 2017-2025 model years California standards.

—Statement from Chairman Nichols to

The ARB says California commits to work in partnership with EPA and

NHTSA to develop a staff technical assessment to inform future rulemaking that

includes the following:

  • Evaluation of emerging technologies to further reduce greenhouse gas

    emissions and improve fuel economy of new passenger vehicles for the 2017-

    2025 model years;

  • Engage with manufacturers of passenger vehicles and other stakeholders, in

    partnership with EPA and NHTSA, to fully explore the capabilities to

    commercialize new greenhouse gas and fuel economy technologies over this

    timeframe and to identify costs and any market barriers;

  • Evaluation of possible approaches to help establish in the marketplace an

    increase in the use of advanced technologies, including plug-in hybrids, battery

    electric, and fuel cell vehicles; and

  • Identify potential greenhouse gas emission standards that could be practically

    implemented nationally for the 2017-2025 model years, with a current

    expectation on California’s behalf that the annual rate of improvement would be

    in the 3 to 6% range.

Nichols also sent a letter to Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator and

Ray LaHood, Secretary DOT, underscoring California’s support for the development of a national program comprising GHG emission standards and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles for years 2014-2018, consistent with the following principles:

  • Starts in 2014 and be fully implemented by 2018.

  • Designed to increase the use of existing technologies in order to achieve significant GHG reductions and fuel efficiency improvements which, based on the measurement metric and baseline that are used, could result in individual GHG reductions as high as 20% and fuel efficiency improvements as high as 25%.

  • Establishes standards applicable to medium and heavy-duty vehicles in a manner that

    recognizes the commercial needs of the trucking industry and the demands of heavy-duty applications; recognizes technology improvement opportunities across the entire vehicle and its operation; is compatible with the complexities of the marketplace; and avoids unintended consequences.

  • Incentivizes the early introduction of advanced technologies (for example, hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles).

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