The State Air Pollution Control Board has adopted the Advanced Clean Cars regulation for new Low-Emission Vehicle and Zero-Emission Vehicle standards, making Virginia the 15th state to adopt California’s standards.
Under the federal Clean Air Act, California has the unique authority to maintain motor vehicle emission standards that are more stringent than federal standards. California’s LEV standards control tailpipe emissions of criteria and greenhouse gas pollutants. California’s ZEV program requires major manufacturers of passenger cars and light trucks to produce and deliver for purchase a certain number of ZEVs.
“Adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars regulation is a historic step in Virginia’s efforts to address air pollution and reduce harmful emissions associated with our transportation network,” said Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Air and Renewable Energy Director Mike Dowd. “This is a significant regulation that will have very positive impacts on Virginia’s environment.”
Manufacturers must increase the average fuel efficiency for light- and medium-duty vehicles, as well as increase the number of electric vehicles for sale, beginning with model year 2025. It’s important to note that the new regulations will not apply to Virginia’s three truck manufacturing operations in Dublin (Volvo plant), Roanoke County (Mack Truck facility) and Pittsylvania County (Morgan Olson plant). Virginia has no light- or medium-duty vehicle manufacturers.
The federal Clean Air Act requires adoption of the California standards two years before they go into effect, which means the regulations approved by SAPCB last week will not go into effect until January 2024.
The SAPCB also denied an air pollution permit for the Lambert Compressor Station associated with the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Before making their decision, Board members heard comprehensive presentations from DEQ staff, reviewed the draft permit and permit engineering analysis, listened to in-person testimony from citizens, and reviewed public comments. In a 6-1 vote, the SAPCB denied the issuance of the air pollution permit.
The SAPCB also approved the contemporaneous statement of the Board’s action and the basis of the action, which is available on DEQ’s website.