This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
EPA Approves California's Zero Emissions Vehicle Program
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has allowed California's Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) regulations to take effect by approving a waiver in late December. Under the Clean Air Act, California is the only state allowed to set regulations for automobile emissions that are more restrictive than federal law, but other states are allowed to adopt the California regulations. Ten other states—Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington—have adopted California's ZEV regulation, which require every automaker to place a number of emissions-free vehicles on the road starting in 2009. Those vehicles will be powered by fuel cells or batteries, but the ZEV regulations also emphasize near-zero-emissions technologies, including hybrid electric vehicles and Partial Zero Emissions Vehicles (PZEVs). See the press release and related Web page from the California Air Resources Board.
California's ZEV program has a long and convoluted history, which was most recently documented in a National Academies report, "State and Federal Standards for Mobile Source Emissions." A description and history of the ZEV program can be found on pages 169 to 174 of the report.