Companies urge states to adopt clean car standards and accelerate the shift to zero-emission transportation

Leading companies are urging state policymakers to pass ambitious new car standards after California finalized the Advanced Clean Cars II rule last month, which will require all new passenger vehicles sold in the state to be zero-emission models by 2035. 

At a Climate Week NYC 2022 virtual event today, representatives from Ford, Hertz, Lyft, and Siemens will join the sustainability nonprofit Ceres, the National Resources Defense Council, and the clean transportation advocacy organization CALSTART, as well as environmental officials in Massachusetts and Washington, to discuss the California rule and the prospect of its adoption across the country. 

More than a dozen states previously followed California’s lead by setting stronger vehicle emissions standards than the national requirement. Adopted using California’s authority to set its own auto standards under the Clean Air Act, the original Advanced Clean Cars (ACC) rule strengthened passenger vehicle efficiency standards while requiring automakers to introduce growing numbers of zero-emission models. Advocates now expect the states that approved ACC and others to adopt ACC II and extend the policy’s benefits from coast to coast, by growing the market for electric vehicles and helping businesses reduce fuel and maintenance costs while meeting their climate goals. 

“An ambitious ACC II rule is critical to helping companies accelerate the shift to the clean vehicle fleets they want and need, which is why they are calling for its adoption across the U.S.,” said Alli Gold Roberts, senior director of state policy, Ceres. “Companies throughout the supply chain, including the auto industry itself, have made it clear that zero-emission vehicles are the way of the future. Now, many are eager to work with other states to adopt this pragmatic solution that will guide the transition to a cleaner, healthier, and more economically beneficial transportation system.” 

“Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., and passenger vehicles are a leading cause of that pollution,” said Jessica Olson, vice president of climate policy, CALSTART. “ACC II is a well-designed policy that will help states meet their climate targets and ensure companies can access clean vehicles that reduce emissions and costs across their supply chains.” 

Large employers have already been major advocates for ACC II. Earlier this year, Ceres organized a letter signed by more than 40 companies, healthcare systems, and financial institutions in support of the policy in California, noting that it “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. 

“States that take an ambitious approach to vehicle electrification will experience a number of benefits and advantages as the transition to EVs takes greater hold,” said Abby Campbell Singer, head of climate and infrastructure policy, Siemens. “In addition to healthier air and progress against the climate crisis, they will also welcome significant investment from companies that are eager to adopt EVs across their supply chains, spur U.S. competitiveness, and build 21st century infrastructure to support them.” 

Many business leaders, including some of the panelists at today’s event, plan to continue advocating for the policy’s adoption in other states, including in Massachusetts and Washington, which are expected to adopt it in the coming months. 

“Washington is proud to be a leader on building a cleaner transportation system, and we believe ACC II is an important policy to help consumers access these vehicles, reduce pollution in communities across our state, and guide industry’s transition to a more sustainable model,” said Joel Creswell, Climate Policy Section Manager, Washington State Department of Ecology. “Washington is eager to consider adoption of ACC II and looks forward to discussing the policy at Climate Week today.” 

Today’s webinar will be held at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and those interested can register via Zoom here. The list of speakers include: 

  • Alli Gold Roberts, Senior Director – State Policy, Ceres 
  • Dave Robba, Manager – State Policy, Transportation, Ceres  
  • Kathy Harris, Clean Vehicles and Fuels Advocate, NRDC 
  • Jessica Olson, Vice President – Policy, CALSTART 
  • Marisa Anderson, California ZEV Regulatory Lead, Ford 
  • Steve Shur, Vice President – Government Affairs EV Strategy, Hertz  
  • Paul Augustine, Head of Sustainability, Lyft 
  • Abby Campbell, Head of Climate and Infrastructure Policy, Siemens 
  • Christine Kirby, Assistant Commissioner of Air and Waste, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection 
  • Joel Creswell, Climate Policy Section Manager, Washington State Department of Ecology 

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. 

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