California has long been the leader in green car legislation. Now, the state’s air-quality regulator, the California Air Resources Board, has approved a stringent round of laws that require the addition of 1.4 million electric, plug-in, and fuel cell vehicles on California roads by 2025.
We reported last week on CARB’s proposition on the new regulations, but on Friday, the board passed the proposed drastic emissions cut by a unanimous vote.
What that means is that the state will be looking to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 34 percent and smog and soot emissions by 75 percent by 2025, as well set up the infrastructure for alternate-fuel vehicles. The consequence of the mandate is that the number of non-gas-burning cars on the road is going to have to drop – to make the CARB’s goal, more than 15 percent of cars sold will need to be zero-emissions vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf.
Despite being different from other states and federal laws, those set by CARB often lead the way for the next round of legislation out of Washington. Even though the ZEVs needed to meet CARB’s ambitious goals only make up one percent of the market right now, the board had little trouble deciding on the ruling. CARB chairman Mary Nichols told Reuters, "[I’ve seen] a real change in attitude on the part of auto companies, who have seen the handwriting on the wall that their future lies in these vehicles."
Because of the change in vehicle mix coming from manufacturers, there is a better chance that more states – or the federal government – will be more willing to adopt the tough standards put forth by California.
We reached out to the Big Three automakers and the Auto Alliance – which represents 12 of the automakers in the U.S. – but could not reach anyone for comment.