On August 25th, the California Air Resources Board voted on the Advanced Clean Cars II plan to scale down light-duty passenger car, truck, and SUV emissions beginning with the 2026 model year through 2035. By 2035, all new passenger cars, trucks, and SUVs sold in California will be zero-emission vehicles under the new rules. Ford released a statement in support of California’s new rules, but before I get into that, let’s take a look at CARB’s proposal so we can know what the company was speaking in support of.
About California’s Advanced Clean Cars II Regulations
According to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the Advanced Clean Cars II proposal will decrease light-duty passenger car, truck and SUV emissions rapidly starting with the 2026 model year through 2035.
The commitment is two-pronged.
The Netherlands has passed several pollution-related measures, such as restricting biomass burning and reducing CO2 emissions from transportation. The country’s current climate change strategy is comprised of a series of binding regulations that limit the use of conventional fossil and nuclear energy to curb global warming. The first measure it passes is one that seeks to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from cars in an attempt to meet environmental standards.
Second, the proposal extends progressively stringent gasoline automobile and heavier passenger truck emissions standards to continue lowering smog-forming emissions throughout the transition from fossil fuels to 100% electric driving by 2035.
This is made a lot easier since California already has the nation’s largest zero-emission vehicle market, with more than 16% of new vehicles sold being zero-emissions or plug-in hybrids. The following graph depicts the planned annual zero-emission vehicle requirement.
The EPA’s Clean Air Act Proposed Rule will reduce fine particle pollution and nitrogen oxide, both of which are linked to increased health risks. The proposal will also significantly decrease air pollutants that endanger public health and contribute to climate change, according to CARB. By decreasing early mortality, hospitalizations, and lost workdays caused by exposure to air pollution, the regulation will provide public healthcare benefits of at least $12 billion over its life cycle.
One common criticism of EV mandates is that the expenses can price out the poor and other marginalized groups. The new regulations also keep in mind that not everyone in the state is on equal financial and other footing. CARB points out that climate change and air pollution have a negative impact on all Californians, but those in front-line communities are especially vulnerable and frequently experience the most severe consequences.
More than 20 different national, state, and local organizations were consulted in order to gain a better understanding of their thoughts on the proposed regulations and how transportation electrification could be improved from an equity standpoint. However, not every suggestion was taken into account, but CARB says it created a well-rounded regulatory design to factor these suggestions in as much as reasonably possible.
First and foremost, the regulatory plans will reduce vehicle pollution exposure in California’s frontline communities, which are disproportionately affected by automobile emissions. In addition, the proposed zero-emission vehicle assurance measures will help ensure all consumers can replace their fossil fuel-powered vehicles with new or used emission-free vehicles that meet their needs for transportation. These proposals include minimum warranty and durability requirements, increased serviceability, and facilitated charging and battery labeling.
Used vehicle sales are very important in underserved and low-income communities. By implementing these measures, we can give consumers the peace of mind that their used zero-emission vehicle meets minimum requirements, contributing to a broader market uptake.
Lastly, the proposal provides automakers with more chances to follow the state’s lead in taking care of overburdened and low-income communities by making zero-emission vehicles more accessible. This can involve providing reduced price zero-emission vehicles for community mobility programs or producing affordable zero-emission vehicles, amongst other things.
Consumers wanting to switch to electric vehicles or use other modes of clean transportation have a suite of incentive programs available to them. The California Air Resources Board develops the incentives, which include rebates for new and used clean cars, funding for charging options, and alternatives to owning a car — such as car sharing and ride hailing. Governor Newsom’s $2.4 billion investment will back the proposed regulation.
CARB also points out that over the first 10 years of ownership, zero-emission vehicle buyers are likely to realize maintenance and operational savings of up to $7500. By 2025, it is estimated that automakers will offer 179 zero-emission and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle models, making it easier than ever for consumers to find a clean vehicle that fits their daily needs and lifestyle.
Other States Will Follow
At present, 17 states have enacted low-emission and zero-emission vehicle laws that are authorized under Section 177 of the Clean Air Act. This further market expansion means that more than 35% of national new light-duty vehicle purchases meet California vehicle emissions standards.
Ford’s Statement In Support Of This Proposal
Ford’s Chief Sustainability Officer Bob Holycross issued the following statement in response to the proposed regulation:
“At Ford, combatting climate change is a strategic priority, and we’re proud of our partnership with California for stronger vehicle emissions standards, forged during a time when climate action was under attack. We’re committed to building a zero-emissions transportation future that includes everyone, backed by our own investments of more than $50 billion by 2026 in EVs and batteries. The CARB Advanced Clean Cars II rule is a landmark standard that will define clean transportation and set an example for the United States.”
Ford Has Been Preparing For This Day
This recent set of new regulations isn’t something that should surprise people. News that this was coming has been around for a while, and the writing was on the wall for a long time before that. Ford knew that this and other global mandates were coming, and did what it could to prepare. Given that it has prepared for it, and has a plan to actually survive the transition as a company, it makes sense for Ford to support the rule today.
This also sets Ford apart from the other automaker, companies that took Donald Trump’s side against California in recent years.
Featured image provided by Ford.
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