Release 96-29

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                            CONTACT: Daven Oswalt
November 21, 1996                                                                                 Jerry Martin/Allan Hirsch
                                                                                                                (916) 322-2990

ARB Auto Pollution Reduction Program Proves Cost-Effective

        SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board (ARB) today announced good news about a progressive program aimed at reducing tailpipe emissions from new automobiles and light trucks sold in California.

        ARB staff showed the Low-Emission Vehicle (LEV) program is reducing the amount of tailpipe emissions from new cars. The LEV program calls for decreases in tailpipe emissions from new vehicles sold in California from 1994 through 2003. The decreases come in steps during each of the ten years (see attached chart).

        Results show the program is successful in reducing vehicle-produced smog while adding minimal cost to the purchase price. Model years 1994, 1995 and 1996 have met the reduced pollution goals -- mainly through refinements in existing catalytic converters and fuel systems -- with the cost of these refinements estimated to be around $100 per vehicle.

        These figures average out to roughly .75 cents for each pound of automobile pollution reduction. This compares to about $5 per pound for pollution reductions on the stacks of petroleum refineries and up to $11 per pound for reductions at other stationary pollution sources.

        "By 2003 new vehicles sold in California will emit only 25 percent of the most harmful pollutants which come from 1994 vehicles," said ARB Chairman John Dunlap.

        Dunlap noted that the pollution benefit gains are particularly impressive considering that emissions from cars and light trucks have already been reduced by more than 90 percent from 1966 through 1994.

        "This outstanding progress shows how much the air quality can improve when the state sets a particular standard and then gives industry sufficient time and flexibility to make that standard work, " Dunlap said.

        The LEV program allows automakers the flexibility of selling vehicles with different tailpipe emission levels, as long as the entire fleet sold in a given year meets that year's pollution goal. A new vehicle that does not meet LEV standards is allowed to put out .25 grams of hydrocarbon pollution per mile (this is the tightest federal standard for vehicles sold in the other 49 states) while a Transitional Low-Emission Vehicle (TLEV) puts out only .125 grams per mile; a LEV .075 grams per mile and an Ultra Low-Emission Vehicle (ULEV) .04 grams per mile.

        It is estimated that 1996 model year new car sales in California were made up of 74 percent federal vehicles, 25 percent TLEVs and one percent LEVs with no ULEVs being sold. By 1997, 54 percent federal standard vehicles are expected to be sold, 35 percent TLEVs, 11 percent LEVs and less than one percent ULEVs.

        Through 2003, the number of lower-polluting vehicles is expected to increase while federal standard vehicle sales are expected to decrease. It is estimated that this trend will result in a 29-ton-per-day reduction by 2010. Oxides of nitrogen will be reduced by 275 tons-per-day by 2010 and carbon monoxide by 320 tons-per-day.

        Sales of Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) are also expected to increase over the next several years. Ford's electric Ranger pickup is currently available to fleets. General Motors will introduce the battery-powered EV1 on December 5 while Toyota and Honda will market electric vehicles in 1997, followed by Chrysler and Nissan in 1998.

        For those interested in considering the pollution factor while shopping for a new car, ARB has compiled a "Buyer's Guide to Cleaner Cars" which is available by calling 1-800-242-4450. The Guide will also soon be available for down-loading from the CARB home page at / (click "What's New").

        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.

Implementation Rates for Conventional Vehicles, TLEVs, LEVs, ULEVs and ZEVs Used to Calculate Fleet Average Standards for Passenger Cars

TLEV 0.125 LEV 0.075 ULEV 0.040 ZEV 0.00 FLEET AVG. STANDARD
1994 80% 10% 0.250
1995 85% 15% 0.231
1996 80% 20% 0.225
1997 73% 25% 2% 0.202
1998 48% 48% 2% 0.157
1999 23% 73% 2% 0.113
2000 96% 2% 0.073
2001 90% 5% 0.070
2002 85% 10% 0.068
2003 75% 15% 10% 0.062

Note: Some of the above percentages do not add up to 100 because of changes to the ZEV rule between 1998 and 2002. In 1994, 10 percent of new cars were still allowed to meet the 0.39 hydrocarbon standard.

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