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More states may follow the Golden State in plug-in vehicle quotas, which could make auto executives see red.

Earlier this year, California approved a rule – known as the ZEV Mandate – requiring more than 15 percent of new cars to be so-called zero-emissions vehicles (ZEV) by the 2025 model year. That rule, which was first drafted more than 20 years ago, would require about 270,000 ZEVs to be sold in the most populous U.S. state each year. Automotive News reports that as many as 10 states could follow California's lead in creating a plug-in and fuel-cell vehicle quota in an effort to improve air quality.

New Jersey and Maryland are among the other states that could adopt similar requirements. If all 10 states adopted similar requirements, automakers would need to sell more than 800,000 ZEVs by the 2025 model year, a prospect that could be disconcerting to automakers, according to the publication. Of course, the "over-compliance" loophole could be used to minimize that number. In 2011, Nissan and General Motors sold about 17,000 battery-electric Leafs and extended-range plug-in Volts, combined.

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