New Zero Emissions Rules For Public Transportation & Shuttles In California

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Every bus used for public transportation in California will be a zero emissions vehicle by 2040 as the result of a new initiative approved this week by the Air Resources Board.

“A zero-emission public bus fleet means cleaner air for all of us. It dramatically reduces tailpipe pollution from buses in low-income communities and provides multiple benefits especially for transit-dependent riders,” CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols said. “Putting more zero-emission buses on our roads will also reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gases, and provides cost savings for transit agencies in the long run.”

According to Electric Vehicle Research, the new regulation is part of a statewide effort to reduce emissions from the transportation sector, which accounts for 40% of carbon dioxide emissions and up to 90% of the pollutants that cause smog. When full implemented, the regulation is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 19 million metric tons from 2020 to 2050. That’s the equivalent of taking 4 million cars off the road.

There are about 200 public transit agencies in the state. Eight of the largest ten transit agencies are already operating some zero emission buses powered either by batteries or hydrogen fuel cells.

CARB will conduct a public hearing on February 21 to consider approving a proposed Zero-Emission Airport Shuttle regulation. If would require fixed route airport shuttles that serve California’s 13 largest airports to transition to 100% zero emissions vehicles by 2035. The Proposed Regulation would apply to public and private fleets, including operators of parking facilities, rental car agencies, and hotels, according to Green Car Congress.

The proposal would require a third of those vehicles to be ZEVs by the end of 2020, two-thirds by the end of 2027, and 100% by December 31, 2035. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, CARB believes more zero emissions vehicles on the road will increase public awareness and acceptance of such vehicles by the general public. Included in the policy proposal is a significant expansion of EV charging infrastructure along the routes most traveled by airport shuttle vehicles.

There are those who disagree with using government regulations to promote public policy initiatives. But CARB is clearly the tail wagging the dog when it comes to acceptance of electric vehicles by Americans. For better or worse, California is leading the EV revolution in America and intends to continue leading from the front on climate change.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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