The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is holding meetings that could put the hammer down on getting more zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) on the road – or so it seems at first glance.

CARB, which always looks far down the road, is discussing how it will change the ZEV program that concerns the model year 2018 vehicles and beyond. The proposal (PDF, but watch out: it's 670 pages that are not searchable!) could force automakers to add half a million pure electric or fuel cell vehicles and another 900,000 plug-in hybrids by 2025, writes the New York Times. Overall, CARB's proposal would increase the market segment of advanced clean cars from four percent in 2025 to up to 15 percent. CARB is also asking for more hydrogen stations to be built.

That may all sound good, but there's another side to the story, one that's a big loophole. Plug In America is calling on its members to oppose a portion of the proposal that could actually reduce the number of ZEVs on the roads in the future. Comparatively, anyway. In a letter to the DOE and EPA, CARB Chair Mary Nichols wrote:

California commits to propose that its revised ZEV program for the 2018-2021 MYs include a provision providing that over-compliance with the federal GHG standards in the prior model year may be used to reduce in part a manufacturer's ZEV obligation in the next model year.

The details are that, for every two grams per mile of GHG overcompliance, an automaker could "cut the number of pure electric-drive vehicles [it has to offer] by as much as 50% over the 2018 to 2021," writes Plug In America, which also calls it a "sweetheart deal" and "a bad deal for California and for the United States." PIA writes that Honda, Hyundai and Toyota lobbied for this overcompliance language. We'll keep following this one.


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  • 30 Comments
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Are you actually SUGGESTING a state run car factory? (Correction . . . I think faster than I type.)
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      When agendas collide! CARB is trying to clean up the air, they don't care how it is accomplished. Plug In America is trying to promote EVs. Automakers want to sell cars at a profit. EVs are certainly a way to clean the air, by reducing the emissions created by an automobile fleet powered by ICEs. *BUT*, and this is where I know I'll get flamed, once the air quality (as determined by CARB) is within acceptable limits, it really doesn't matter what the make up of the fleet is - as long as it it clean. That's what the automakers who asked for this clause understand. As long as they can reduce their emissions, then it really shouldn't matter what their fleet drivetrain mix is. And if they can attain that emissions standard with cheaper to make ICE's, then they'd like a reprieve from being forced to sell ZEVs. I'm not endorsing or condemning them for their position, just saying that I understand their thinking. I certainly think that the overwhelming benefits of electrified vehicles, including PHEVs, BEVs, and FCVs, will make them very appealing in the market place. I don't think a mandate will be needed for very long, because I think the vehicles can sell themselves very nicely once the makers wade through the "Valley of Death" that every new tech generally experiences. http://www1.eere.energy.gov/commercialization/images/valleyofdeath_sm.jpg
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        'The total cost of asthma due to pollution is much higher than past traditional risk assessments have indicated and there is growing evidence that exposure to traffic-related air pollution is a cause of asthma and a trigger for attacks, so it should be included, say the authors. They conducted the study in Long Beach and Riverside, Calif., communities with high regional air pollution levels and large roads near residential neighborhoods' http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-01/uoma-ara012512.php My feeling is that as alternatives become practical and reasonably affordable, toleration for traffic pollution will decrease, and so politics and regulations will move on with this.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Day Ago
          @DaveMart
          Like cigarette bans? I can see that happening - in fact, there are plenty of cities that already either restrict or are considering restricting traffic with emissions beyond a certain level.
      Eideard
      • 2 Years Ago
      Anyone on the block ever expect Issa to be anything less than an ideological mouthpiece for Big Oil?
      Kate Parker
      • 2 Years Ago
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      marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      @Ezee Spec and 2WM, are being even handed! I can't think of a single car made by a nationalised car industry, that was well made and successful. Even though many of the UK designs were great, by the time the nationalised factory produced the product, it was a disaster! Even East European vehicles designed privately before the war, and built in nationalised post -war factories were substandard. However, the trabant did spawn a whole genre of jokes; A West German businessman is driving his Mercedes to Leipzig , on a rainy night when his windshield wipers stop working. He finds an East German mechanic, who tells him there are no Mercedes windshield wiper motors in the GDR, but he will do his best to fix it if he can pay in dollars. When the businessman returns the next day, to his surprise the windshield wipers are working perfectly. "How did you find a Mercedes windshield wiper motor in the East?" he asks the mechanic. "We didn't," replies the mechanic, "We used the engine of a Trabant."
      throwback
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't understand how they expect to mandate sales. So car companies make 15% of their cars plug-ins, what happens if people continue to only buy the 2%-3% of these cars they do now? Will they start arresting their citizens?
        Ele Truk
        • 1 Day Ago
        @throwback
        No, they just fine the car companies, and then the prices of the cars go up.
        • 1 Day Ago
        @throwback
        There will be a mandate, just as with Obamacare. People will be selected at random to buy a EV. If you refuse to buy one, you will be arrested, and jailed until you agree to buy one. But don't worry, you have an 85% chance of not being selected. Meanwhile the Govenor and all members of Congress will continue to drive SUVs. Land of the Free....
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 2 Years Ago
      stop relying on legislation, hit the automakers where it really hurts. start a production of the right kind of EV in california. light and aerodynamic. modern EV1 with porsche esque styling and ferrari beating performance. what porsche should be but is too dumb to do.
      marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Although I am happy to see any event that promotes the spread of EV's, I fear that if CARB regulations become too draconian (especially if adopted federally), a backlash will set in with voters losing confidence and the Board replaced by more conservative forces. It's also a little hypocritical since cars are not the major source of pollution in California, just the most obvious, Just the Port of Los Angeles alone, not including all the other Californian ports, docks tens of thousands of container, cruise, and general ships each year. Many of these vessels lack the capacity to connect to on shore generated electricity. So they just idle dockside, burning diesel or low-quality bunker fuel. In addition, dock traffic, diesel fuelled semi-trailers, locomotives etc, idle while waiting to be loaded or unloaded. Truck, ship, and rail pollution coming from the ports is the largest source of air pollution in Southern California. Asthma and other health ailments, are a legitimate concern arising from air pollution, but an estimated 2,000 cases of cancer per million people (25 per million) originate from Bunker Oil pollution! Bunker Oil pollution even enters the food chain! Seafood, Beef, Fowls but especially Pork, are all suspect, as are vegetables, including tomatoes. Even water can carry carcinogens. The 47 tons of nitrogen oxides generated daily by port marine vessels nearly equals the amount emitted by the 350 largest factories and refineries in the region, and that number is expected to increase 70% by 2022. Although California is attempting to address some of these problems, it's efforts are rendered ineffective by the increasing amount of offshore toxic fuel pollution reaching California by both airborne and ocean sources. All the motor vehicles in California don't equal the toxic pollution created by 10 large vessels entering Californian Ports. In view of these sort of statistics, CARB's may find itself being seem as an ineffectual regulator, getting tough on the auto-industry, but ignoring the pollution giant. It takes years,before a Mitsubishi iMev counteracts the shipping pollution involved in it's transport.
        Ele Truk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        Well, at least the port is investing heavily in electric short haul trucks. http://www.portoflosangeles.org/environment/etruck.asp
        paulwesterberg
        • 2 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        Bunker fuel is a major source of pollution that contributes to global warming, but ships are no longer allowed to burn bunker fuel at the port. They are required to switch to cleaner burning lower sulfur fuel within 24 nautical miles of shore.
          marcopolo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          @PaulWesterburg Paul, it's true that the US government and states like California do attempt to enforce both MArpol and local regulations. Canada, Holland and most developed nations Port Authorities require newer vessels fitted with twin system tanks, capable of using diesel while in port, and those which are capable of connecting to on shore generated electricity to run the ship in Port. The problem is not that these regulations are not obeyed. ($15,000 fines are minuscule) but that the majority of shipping is registered in foreign nations often with flags of convenience, or in the PRC who simply ignore all penalties. But even if all the regulations were obeyed to the letter, no matter how fervently the state of California, (or any other port) applies regulations to it's 24 mile limit, the bio-sphere doesn't recognise borders! Bunker oil pollution is a world phenomenon. The particles can be carried hundreds, even thousands of miles by wind, rivers etc. Even running on low sulphur diesel fuel, a ships engines are still very pollutant. The myth that diesel fuel is harmless is just that, a myth. My criticism is not at the Port of Los Angeles, or even really at CARB. My point is a question of priorities. I see the problem of Bunker Oil pollution as being far more serious than excessive mandating of automobiles. Bunker Oil has no friends, not even the industry that manufactures Bunker Oil. It would be simple to outlaw completely, and internationally. On the other hand, mandating auto-manufactures to produce a percentage of EVs, sounds great, but has real risks. What happens if the public doesn't buy all these EV's? Will the almost bankrupt Californian government pay the manufactures losses? If that happened, what would happen to the reputation of EV's ? More important, the voter backlash would create a set back for clean air, alternate vehicles, it would take years to recover.
          marcopolo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          @PR That's just your problem! You stereotype everything! If the voters find any regulation, including Carb too onerous or difficult, they will elect a government that will change the regulations, or the board of regulators. this is always a danger. Fearing over reaching regulation, is not being anti-regulatory, it's simply a matter of degree. Obviously you believe that 'out of sight is of mind' since you are unwilling to commit to any real solution to the problem of Bunker Oil usage. In fact by your own measure you are actually supporting the use of Bunker oil as long as it's not in the US 24 mile zone? Oh, by the way, the US has every legal right to deny any ship from entering a US port or in the case of US registration, leaving! But, I'm sure the purveyors of Bunker Oil, would be greatful for your support!
        PR
        • 2 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        That's why CARB also has a mandate to regulate all those other industries, and DOES regulate all those other industries, including banning Bunker Fuel exactly for the reasons you said: http://www.landlinemag.com/todays_news/Daily/2011/Aug11/082911/090211-07.shtml "Truckers who visit ports on California’s pacific coast have wondered why more major shipping companies aren’t punished for polluting the air with dirty bunker fuel, while trucks are required to use ultra-low-sulfur diesel. The truth is, CARB does fine shippers who burn bunker fuel. The latest to be cited: Mediterranean Shipping Co. and the Chipolbrok Shipping Co., for using bunker fuel “well within” the 24-mile limit from the coast. Each company burned the bunker fuel before docking at the Port of Long Beach in November 2010, CARB says. Each company will pay $53,000 to the California Air Pollution Control Fund and follow all fuel switchover requirements. CARB says it inspects 250 ship inspections annually, checking on fuel usage, record-keeping and other compliance requirements. “Cargo vessels can burn some of the dirtiest fuels on the planet, and we need to make sure that their engine emissions don’t reach our coast,” said CARB Enforcement Chief James Ryden, according to a news release. “Our fuel regulation is vitally important because it requires shippers to switch to cleaner-burning fuels that help fight air pollution in our coastal regions and port communities.”" Sorry to once again let something like facts get in the way of one of your rants. I'm sure you will find some way to knee-jerk attack me for it, instead of just saying "my bad, I didn't know what I was talking about." Bring it on.
          PR
          • 1 Day Ago
          @PR
          So after bitching about "CARB regulations become too draconian (especially if adopted federally), " you are now calling for the federal government to adopt CARB's regulations, just like Canada did? Ok......... Sounds like the CARB Bunker Fuel regulations I'm defending (duh) that you described as "Draconian" are exactly what we need Federally, where the federal gov't has the legal authority to impact international trade where US States have no legal authority. Yet again, your anti-regulation rhetoric leaves you with contradictory and illogical positions.
          marcopolo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @PR
          marcopolo @PR That's just your problem! You stereotype everything! If the voters find any regulation, including Carb too onerous or difficult, they will elect a government that will change the regulations, or the board of regulators. this is always a danger. Fearing over reaching regulation, is not being anti-regulatory, it's simply a matter of degree. Obviously you believe that 'out of sight is of mind' since you are unwilling to commit to any real solution to the problem of Bunker Oil usage. In fact by your own measure you are actually supporting the use of Bunker oil as long as it's not in the US 24 mile zone? Oh, by the way, the US has every legal right to deny any ship from entering a US port or in the case of US registration, leaving! But, I'm sure the purveyors of Bunker Oil, would be greatful for your support!
          marcopolo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @PR
          PR, I'm not sure what you are so ardently defending, CARB, The Port of Los Angeles, or the continued use of Bunker Oil?! Are you saying that because of CARB, the State of California has now solved the problem of the pollutant effect effect of bunker Oil usage, so we should all forget about it? But in short or order, Does the State of California, along with all other major ports in developed countries, (especially Canada) try hard to restrict the use of bunker oil in national waters. Absolutely! ( In fact , in my comment I acknowledged the efforts of Port Authority of LA). Are such regulations effective enough? No! What should be done? The use of Marine Grade No. 6 Fuel should be outlawed. Not by 2030,40 50, 60. but by 2020! In fact it would be desirable, if even the use of diesel itself could be outlawed by 2030 for maritime use. The abolition procedure is simple, ports can regulate that ships 'rigged' to run on bunker oil, be refused entry. No bunker oil fuelled ship can be insured, nor it's cargo. Regulations like these would make the use of this fuel uneconomic. Such regulations are easily and effectively, enforceable. Flags of convenience, evasion devices etc..become useless. You might think that my concern about a toxic oil product, a major source of world pollution is not a problem, and no one should 'rant' about it, but I do not! You have a choice, you can place your faith in a band aid, pretend solution, or get behind a real solution, that will actually work!
      PR
      • 2 Years Ago
      EZEE -- Electric Trabbi: http://green.autoblog.com/2009/09/18/frankfurt-2009-electric-trabant-nt-concept/ That's an FSU car I'd drive.
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      Those Lada's....and that 2-stroke on the Trabant.... Bless you Spec and 2 Wheel for your even handed posts...
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      California... always trying to do strange things to force whatever reality they want into being.. I'm one of the biggest advocates of EVs. I prefer the Colorado technique: throw a tax credit on it and let it sell on it's own merits.
        PR
        • 1 Day Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        2 wheel - tax credits definitely work for getting us past these high-priced early adopter stages of first generation EV's. I'm planning on using the Colorado credit as often as possible between now and the end of 2015. But the plan for even the Colorado technique doesn't even come anywhere near 15% EV market share by 2025. It sunsets 10 years before then, and for many categories of cars, the tax credit drops every year. The Colorado law isn't designed to put 15% of EV's on the road. It is designed just to help get past the early adopter stage of first generation EV's until hopefully car companies can start putting out 2nd generation EV's for lower prices. When it comes to true mass production, the savings of true mass production are going to have to cover the price issue instead of tax credits. If the Colorado plan works, it will be because the current tax credit spurs enough early sales that manufactures can then go into mass production so the tax credits aren't needed anymore. Frankly, if we haven't gotten to 3rd generation EV's with significantly lower prices 13 years from now, we're going to be in trouble.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 1 Day Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        they are already doing that... it's not working enough
      adam16
      • 2 Years Ago
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