California Air Resources Board Votes Unanimously to Keep Its Strong Clean Car Standards and to Move Forward with New Safeguards


Last friday, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) – the state’s clean air agency – voted unanimously to keep the state’s Advanced Clean Cars Program in place to address climate pollution, smog-forming emissions and other air pollutants from cars and passenger trucks.

Today’s vote was based on extensive technical analysis showing the standards are being achieved at a fraction of the estimated costs. The Board also decided to begin putting in place new safeguards to achieve its long-term clean air objectives.

“We strongly support California’s decision to maintain its protective clean car standards and to move forward in providing vital additional clean air protections over the long-term. Today’s vote means Californians will make forward progress in providing cleaner, safer air for our families and communities,” said Quentin Foster, Environmental Defense Fund’s California Climate director.

Experts from Environmental Defense Fund were among dozens who testified in favor of the standards at a public hearing that was held before the vote today.

Experts noted that the array of pollutants from cars are one of the single largest threats to human health for millions of Californians. Pollution from cars and trucks contributes to smog and climate change. Vehicle pollution is linked to increased asthma attacks, an increased risk of heart disease and lung cancer, and more premature deaths.

Under the Clean Air Act, California has longstanding authority to set vehicle emission standards that are tailored to its needs — and can be more protective than federal standards.

CARB worked with the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration to develop standards in conjunction with the national Clean Car standards for cars from model years 2017 to 2025. Each agency also committed to conducting a mid-term review for the later year standards (for cars in model years 2022 to 2025).

CARB released its Advanced Clean Cars Midterm Review Report on January 18, 2017. It concludes that the current standards for cars in model years 2022-2025 should stay as adopted – and found that they will result in equivalent or greater benefits than originally projected for California.

Today, CARB board members, after hearing staff recommendations and public testimony about the clean cars program, voted to maintain the stringency of the Advanced Clean Car Program, including standards for model year 2022-25 vehicles.

(The Environmental Protection Agency also found, after an extensive and rigorous mid-term review, that the national Clean Car standards should stay as adopted. However, last week the Trump Administration announced that it would reopen that review, which could lead to weakening the standards.)