Growth Energy recently submitted comments to the Washington Department of Ecology and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality in response to the states’ proposals to follow California’s Advanced Clean Cars II regulation requiring 100% sales of zero emission vehicles by 2035. In its comments, Growth Energy highlighted the immediate greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction benefits of higher blends of biofuels for cars on the road today.
“We appreciate Ecology’s work to make Washington’s transportation mix more sustainable. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a goal of our industry as well,” wrote Growth Energy in response to Washington’s state proposal. “Specifically, liquid fuels will continue to play an important role in the transportation sector for decades to come, even as alternative technologies flourish. As such, it is imperative to consider the vital role that environmentally sustainable fuel options such as bioethanol will play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and cutting consumer costs from the current and future Washington vehicle fleet.”
On August 25, 2022, The California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted its proposed “Advanced Clean Cars II” regulations (ACC II). The first piece of the regulation establishes revised, and more stringent, GHG and other emissions standards for model year 2026 through 2035 passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE). This is the Low Emission Vehicle or “LEV” GHG program.
The second part requires vehicle manufacturers to include an increasingly higher percentage of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in the fleet of vehicles they produce for sale in California each year. ACC II requires that 35 percent of their production be ZEVs in 2026, and it ramps up the requirement each year so that by 2035 manufacturers are allowed to produce only ZEVs for sale in California.
As they have done in response to previous California emission regulations covered by a Section 209(b) waiver, several states may follow California’s ACE II regulation in the coming months and years through another special provision of the Clean Air Act, Section 177, which gives States the authority to incorporate all of or part of California regulations covered by a waiver. Unlike California, these “Section 177” states don’t need EPA approval; they simply must follow their own state laws and procedures in incorporating California standards.
There are 17 “Section 177” states that have followed California’s regulations in the past, including Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania (ZEV only), Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.