California’s new clean car standards will accelerate zero-emission vehicle market development across states

Ceres joins major companies and employers in California to celebrate the adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars II rule, which will build upon the state’s history of leadership in deploying cleaner and more efficient vehicles across the U.S. and support the auto industry’s shift to a zero-emissions future. 

The California Air Resources Board approved the new light-duty vehicle standards today following months of consideration and with significant support from major companies, institutions, and investors. The original Advanced Clean Cars rule, adopted in 2012 using California’s authority to set its own auto standards under the Clean Air Act, strengthened passenger vehicle efficiency standards while requiring automakers to introduce growing numbers of zero-emission models. ACC II expands upon the policy, featuring a requirement for 100% zero-emission vehicle sales in the state by 2035.  

The California policy is especially valuable because more than a dozen other states have previously adopted the state’s standards and can now move to adopt ACCII — meaning its impacts are likely to extend far across the U.S. 

“We are grateful to the California Air Resources Board for further driving the shift to a cleaner transportation system,” said Alli Gold Roberts, senior director of state policy, Ceres, a nonprofit that works with companies and investors on sustainability solutions. “States that have joined the ACC program have already brought their citizens cleaner air, more fuel-efficient vehicles, and a better business environment for forward-looking companies. The auto industry and companies across the supply chain have made it clear that zero-emission vehicles are the way of the future, and we urge these states and others to now adopt this pragmatic solution to help foster the market and guide this transition.” 

In May, Ceres organized a letter signed by more than 40 companies, healthcare systems, and financial institutions in support of Advanced Clean Cars II, noting that the policy “will encourage economies of scale that will help bring down costs and set the stage for further economic development such as electric vehicle charging infrastructure.”  

Companies have also emphasized the importance of vehicle efficiency and electrification standards to lower fuel and maintenance costs throughout their supply chains, improve public health through cleaner air, and reduce the economic risks of climate change by slashing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. 

“An ambitious Clean Cars II program is vital to meeting our climate goals and keeping the U.S. economy competitive. But perhaps most importantly for us: this regulation will improve public health and reduce health costs for our communities,” said Rachelle Wenger, system vice president for public policy and advocacy engagement, Dignity Health. “This is especially true for the low-income and BIPOC communities that are much more likely to live near major transportation hubs. Getting more clean vehicles on our roads will reduce respiratory illness and hospitalizations, improving the health and wellbeing of communities and healthcare systems across the country.” 

“IKEA USA is committed to 100% zero emissions home deliveries by 2025. To achieve our vision for a clean transportation future, we need smart policies to help accelerate the availability of and access to zero-emission vehicles of all types and size,” said Michael Hughes, U.S. public affairs lead, IKEA USA. “An ambitious Clean Cars II program is a critical policy that will move us closer to our climate goals, reduce air pollution, and build a cleaner economy.” 

In addition to its work on zero-emission passenger vehicles, Ceres is also working with companies to advocate for smart policies to support the shift to clean transportation by getting more zero-emission trucks and vans for larger commercial fleets on the roads. Last year, more than 70 companies that want access to clean vehicles throughout their supply chains signed a letter calling on states to adopt the Advanced Clean Trucks rule, which sets strong sales targets for zero-emission trucks and vans in the coming years.  Like Advanced Clean Cars, the Advanced Clean Trucks rule was first approved in California and then adopted by several other states seeking ambitious solutions to their transportation pollution challenges. 

The California Air Resources Board is also expected to decide this fall on the Advanced Clean Fleets rule, which would transition medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales in the state to 100% zero-emission vehicles by 2040. 

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