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Consumer Reports urges California officials to move forward on strong clean-car standards

At California Air Resources Board meeting, CR testifies that Advanced Clean Cars II proposal will help consumers save money and reduce pollution


SACRAMENTO – Consumer Reports urged California’s clean-air agency to move forward with the strongest possible standards for vehicle emissions and the sale of zero-emission vehicles during a public hearing at a day-long Thursday meeting.


Members of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) heard testimony from local residents, automobile executives, environmental experts, and other stakeholders as the board considers its Advanced Clean Cars II Regulations proposal.  


The proposed rule would rapidly scale down vehicle emissions, starting with the 2026 model year.  It would also require that all new passenger cars, trucks and SUVs sold in California be zero-emission by the year 2035.  CARB is expected to vote on a final rule by this August.


Dylan Jaff, sustainability policy analyst for Consumer Reports, testified that the proposal would  help reduce transportation costs for many consumers in California, amid rising concerns about gas prices and climate pollution.


“Our analysis finds that, based on today’s average gas and electricity rates, battery electric vehicle owners in California can save an average of $2,600 in fuel and maintenance costs with an electric car, SUV, or pick-up.  Our 2021 survey of California consumer attitudes towards electric vehicles shows that over 50 percent of Californians either ‘definitely plan to’ or ‘would consider’ getting a plug-in EV as their next vehicle,” Jaff said.


Jaff praised the proposal’s emphasis on consumer protections and warranties, as well as the inclusion of a right-to-repair provision.  He also urged the board to strengthen the rule’s equity proposal, which is designed to increase accessibility to zero-emission vehicles for consumers in low-income communities and disadvantaged areas.  He said the proposal has merit, but it is only voluntary, so there is no certainty that automakers will utilize it. He noted the disproportionate impact of climate change and air pollution in these communities.  CR is recommending that CARB change the equity component of the rule from voluntary to mandatory.


CR members in California also spoke at the hearing. Stephanie Hagiwara of Port Hueneme told board members:   “We need CARB to lead the way in the national and global effort to eliminate dangerous air pollutants.  A key step is to mandate manufacturers to sell zero-emission vehicles priced for all income levels with the right for all to repair.  Please adopt the strongest standards possible.”

CR recently filed formal comments with CARB about the strengths of the ACCII proposal and ways that it could be improved. Read the comments here.


Contact: David Butler, david.butler@consumer.org