EPA restores California’s vehicle emissions waiver helping drive the electric vehicle transition – Climate Group responds | Climate Group Skip to main content

EPA restores California’s vehicle emissions waiver helping drive the electric vehicle transition – Climate Group responds

10 March 2022, 16:54 UTC 2 min read

Today, the Biden administration completed the process to restore California’s waiver privileges under the Clean Air Act. For nearly a decade, California, Under2 Coalition co-chair of North America, has been the only state with the ability to set tailpipe emission standards that are stricter than federal government standards as part of California’s Advanced Clean Cars Program. This unique power is granted via waivers from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and paves the way for more Advanced Clean Car states. Other states are allowed to adopt California’s stricter emission standards to accelerate adoption of cleaner and zero-emission vehicles. 

California’s Advanced Clean Cars regulations include both low-emission vehicle (LEV) standards and zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) standards, which have been adopted in some capacity by a total of sixteen states to date. 

So far, a total of fourteen states have adopted California’s LEV and ZEV requirements, while two other states have only adopted the LEV standards. These 16 states include Under2 Coalition members, Nevada, California, Washington State, Virginia, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New York State, Oregon and Vermont.  Other states are on track to adopt California’s Advanced Clean Car Program in 2022 and beyond.  

“Restoring California’s waiver under the Clean Air Act is crucial to accelerating the electric vehicle revolution in the US and improving health and quality of life for all Americans. As a demonstrated leader, California’s policies provide guidance for other states as they expand the clean cars industry. Restored state ability to set stronger vehicle emission standards will stimulate electric vehicle adoption and the transition to a clean economy.   

As transportation is the largest source of emissions in the US, electrifying transportation is critical to reducing emissions and reaching crucial climate targets as well as addressing transport-related air and noise pollution and improving public health. 

“We’re glad to see the Biden administration follow through in restoring this crucial waiver and we look forward to collaborating to increase US ambition and action,” says Louisa Plotnick, Head of Programs for North America at Climate Group.