Join Now
International Automotive Technicians Network
Short Summary of Calif's recent rulemaking
Posted to Industry Issues Forum on 1/30/2012 3 Replies

Given the other post on the ZEV mandate, I thought I would try and give the 2 cent summary on the ARB's recent rulemaking as it is pretty substantial and thought some folks would be interested.

ARB recently adopted the next round of tailpipe standards (LEV III) and zero emission vehicle requirements (ZEV program) primarily for the 2017-2025 model years. I have excerpted a few charts just to give you a general idea of what the requirements are (and no, I'm not the one with all the answers or know all the nuances of the why or how but I have what I'll call 'somewhat of an idea' about the requirements). For those that want to read more, there is plenty available here: and from there you can get to specifics like the staff reports including executive summaries that are fairly easy to read for LEV III: and for the ZEV program:

Ok, the short-ish summary. LEV III is the next wave of lower tailpipe standards. It covers both the traditional tailpipe pollutants (e.g., HC (known as NMOG) and NOx)). It also covers GHG (greenhouse gas) pollutants like CO2. Here's where tailpipe HC and NOx numbers will be going: [LEV III Tailpipe HC plus NOX]

Manufacturers will still be able to make cars at different emisison levels (e.g., LEV, ULEV, SULEV, etc.) and the above graph is the 'fleet' average they have to meet each year (so they can sell say dirtier mustangs as long as they offset them with cleaner Fiestas and so on, just like they always have been able to do). It is new in that it will now be a combined HC + NOx standard instead of two separate standards to give manufacturers more wiggle room.

And for the GHG standards, here's a look that shows the last round and this new round and where the standards are: [LEV III Tailpipe GHG standard] Maybe it helps a little on GHG to look at this one that shows the same standards but also shows where 2008 model year cars and trucks currently are: [LEV III tailpipe GHG current]

The general premise is that there is a standard based on the footprint of the far (wheelbase times track width) and so bigger footprint cars can emit more but there are some tails to clip very small and very big vehicles. And there are separate standards for cars vs trucks. And yes, there are lots of credits and trading schemes that factor in as well but this still gives you a general idea where things are headed. The second one shows individual dots for every 2008 model year vehicle model and big dots for the average passenger car and average truck in the 2008 model year. It also shows dotted lines for the 2016 standard (that was previously adopted many years ago) and so you can see how much manufacturers have to move from where they were in 2008 to get their average below the dotted line for 2016. And then a solid line for where they need to get to by 2025 with these new requirements.

Ok, a second part of the rulemaking amended the ZEV program. As you probably all know, Calif has been trying to transition the fleet to ZEVs for quite some time because air quality standards dictate that essentially there be zero emissions from vehicles if we want a chance to actually meet the ambient air quality standards in the future. And, in 2003, the Calif legislature passed an Executive Order targeting an 80% reduction in GHG emissions (relative to 1990 levels) for the 2050 year. So, working backwards from what we need to have in 2050 to have an 80% reduction in GHG and meet ambient air quality standards (which is essentially 100% zevs in 2040-2050 timeframe), ARB proposed about a 15% target in 2025 to start the transition. Here it is graphically: [ZEV requirement]

And yes, eventually all ZEVs have to be what you think of as zero emission vehicles like battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and fuel cell vehicles (FCV) but in the interim years, you can still get partial credit for other things like transitional ZEVS (TZEVs) like plug-in hybrids which are 'zev-like' in some respects (e.g., some amount of all electric range, very low tailpipe standards, very low evap standards, etc.).

And I know folks like to bring up that zevs are not really zero emission because there are 'upstream' emissions (such as producing the electricity or hydrogen, etc.). And yes, the regulations all comprehend that and model that but I thought the following four charts might be of interest to those folks to see the relative magnitudes. These charts show various types of vehicles (e.g., current gasoline, future gasoline, plug-in hybrid, electric, fuel cell vehilce) and the relative amounts of NOx, HC, PM, and GHG from upstream ('fuel cycle') vs the vehicle (coming out the tailpipe/evap system) (or even A/C system for GHG). The 'WTW' acronym in some of the figures is 'wheel to well' as a term used to represent the whole picture. NOx, [NOx vehicle contribution] , HC, [HC vehicle contribution] , PM [PM vehicle contribution] , and GHG [GHG vehicle contribution]

Probably pretty obvious to most folks but stationary sources (like power plants) are indeed easier to control emissions from than mobile sources (like cars) because you aren't as limited by size and weight and things like that. And, for those that don't know, Calif has a decently 'green' electricity generation grid (with not insignificant amounts of hydroelectric, natural gas, etc. in lieu of coal fired) and has pretty aggressive reguations to move the electricty grid to bigger chunks of these sources in the same time frames as these vehicle requirements. In any case, yes there are still emissions associated with making and transporting the electricity or hydrogen (for fuel cell vehicles) but it is generally substantially less than making and transporting gasoline and then having the vehicle emit too.

As I said, I'm not the guy making this happen and don't necessarily know all the ins and outs but thought I would frame it up a little bit for those that might be interested in knowing what happened recently.

Mike from California

Files Referenced:

thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail

3 Replies Received (View Replies)