Release 10-20
February 25, 2010

Stanley Young
916-322-1309 desk
916-956-9409 cell

California completes its commitment to a national greenhouse gas standard for cars
Regulation is final step in agreement announced in Rose Garden last year

SACRAMENTO--California today fulfilled its commitment to establish the nation’s first ever greenhouse gas standard for passenger vehicles by allowing federal greenhouse gas standards to fully comply with California’s standards for model years 2012 to 2016.

The Board’s action is the third and final step California committed to as part of an agreement with automobile manufacturers and two federal agencies announced last May by President Obama in the Rose Garden to establish the pioneering national greenhouse gas standard .

“The Board’s action affirms the important role that California—and the states that adopted our standard—played in driving the development of a national greenhouse gas standard for cars,” said Mary D. Nichols, chairman of the ARB. “Starting in 2012, consumers in all 50 states will see cleaner and more efficient vehicles in dealers’ showrooms, and the nation will benefit from significantly greater reductions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants over the next decade.” 

The two other steps relate to compliance with the California standards in model years 2009 through 2011, prior to the initiation of the federal measure in 2012. The first allows California and the thirteen other states that had adopted California’s greenhouse gas standard to pool car sales from all 14 states instead of using a state-by-state basis for compliance; the second is a cost-reducing measure that permits existing federal data to be used to comply with California’s greenhouse gas standards for those years.

The regulation adopted today allows cars that comply with the federal greenhouse gas standards for model years 2012 to 2016 to also comply with California’s standards for each of those years.  The two standards differ slightly, but reach the same levels by 2016.

ARB studies indicate that, as a result of the national scope of the standard, a total of 941 million tons of carbon dioxide will be prevented from entering the atmosphere by cleaner cars in all fifty states by 2020, compared to 793 million tons had the standard been limited to California and the thirteen states that had adopted California’s standard. The additional 148 million tons in reductions is the equivalent of removing about 30 million cars from the nation’s roads for a full year. A significant number of smog-forming pollutants from vehicles will also be reduced under the national standard.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency.  ARB’s mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy.  The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.