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Consumer Reports praises California Air Resource Board’s staff proposal on air emissions

CR calls for CARB to set strong standards to reduce global warming pollution

SAN FRANCISCO — Consumer Reports praised the overall direction of the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) staff proposal presented today to limit harmful air emissions, but raised questions about prospects for new state standards for global warming pollution beyond 2025.

“For more than half a century California has worked to protect its residents from the high cost of air pollution and helped inspire the nation forward along the way,” said Alfred Artis, policy analyst for Consumer Reports. “Now California appears poised to lead the way again when it comes to reducing local air pollutants. Automaker innovations, from cutting smog-forming pollution from the tailpipe to electric vehicles, are more than ready to deliver, but consumers need greater access to compelling, clean cars that only stronger standards can deliver.”

CARB provided the guidance today at a public workshop on the development of their Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II) regulations. The next step in the process will be more stakeholder engagement, ultimately leading to a vote by the board on whether to adopt this or an updated proposal. The goal of the upcoming ACC II regulations has been to increase the number of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) for sale in California, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new light- and medium-duty vehicles beyond the 2025 model year.

“When it comes to electric vehicles, setting a strong target to meet by 2030 is probably the most important decision ARB will make,” said Artis. “Ensuring that more than half the cars sold by automakers in California are electric will help push the industry to a tipping point, where the ZEV market starts to become truly self sustaining. CR welcomes the new electric vehicle durability requirements to ensure consumers have access to long-range, long-lasting vehicles.”

While the ARB staff proposal addressed smog-forming emissions and zero emission vehicle standards, it did not address new standards for vehicle greenhouse gas emissions. California has set standards for new vehicle greenhouse gas emissions since 2002, and the federal government has proposed to reinstate California’s authority to do so after it was inappropriately revoked by the previous administration. Those standards run through Model Year 2025.

“The staff proposal on local air quality shows promise, but it will also be critical for CARB to move forward on global warming pollution,” said David Friedman, vice president of advocacy for Consumer Reports. “Californians will buy millions of gasoline cars over the next 10-15 years and they need the state to help spur the production of many more money-saving, low-carbon options regardless of action at the federal level. We are hopeful that the next step will include a proposal for strong standards that cut new vehicle ghg emissions at least 60 percent by 2030.”

For more information on this issue, see CR’ Vehicle Emissions Standards Factsheet