Advanced Clean Cars: Vermont Becomes National Trendsetter
Transportation is the largest source of climate-disrupting and toxic air pollution in Vermont, producing 39% of Vermont’s overall greenhouse gas emissions. Our fossil-fuel-powered cars, trucks, and buses are the source of the vast majority of transportation sector emissions.
In 2013, Vermont sought a waiver to the Federal Clean Air Act to join with California to enact emission standards from light and medium-sized motor vehicles that are stricter than federal requirements under its Advanced Clean Cars (ACC) program.
This led Vermont to adopt both a Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) program to reduce the emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases and a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program which requires auto manufacturers to deliver an increasing percentage of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to Vermont.
Advanced Clean Cars II: The Next Step
The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources is considering adopting new rules to implement California’s Advanced Clean Cars II (ACCII) standards. These rules would require the vehicles auto manufacturers to deliver to Vermont meet stricter emission standards and for manufacturers to make an increasing annual percentage of EVs available in Vermont reaching 100% of all cars and light trucks by 2035.
Adoption of ACCII is recommended in Vermont’s Climate Action Plan (created by the Vermont Climate Council as part of the Global Warming Solutions Act) and is a critical step in meeting Vermont’s required climate targets of net-zero emissions by 2050 as stated in the Global Warming Solutions Act.
To ensure Vermont avoids meets the deadline for the first possible year of adoption (model year 2026) and does not default back to less stringent federal standards with no ZEV sales obligations, ANR needs to adopt the ACCII amendments before the end of 2022.
Advanced Clean Trucks Rule
The Advanced Clean Trucks Rule (ACT) is a new regulatory program that has been adopted in California, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and other states requiring auto manufacturers to sell zero-emission trucks as an ever-increasing percentage of their annual sales from model years 2024 to 2035.
Under ACT, by model year 2035, zero-emission truck sales would need to be:
- 55% of Class 2b – 3 truck (F-350, multi passenger vans) sales;
- 75% of Class 4 – 8 truck (school buses, dump trucks) sales; and
- 40% of tractor trailer sales
As with Advanced Clean Cars, Advanced Clean Trucks does not require that fleet owners or truck operators to purchase EVs, but simply mandates that manufacturers of medium and heavy duty trucks make them available for sale in Vermont.
Because ACT has been adopted in California, Vermont can adopt this rule at any time. Vermont has had almost no regulations covering emissions from these medium and heavy duty vehicles in the past, so this would be a brand new rule. In order to maximize emission reductions projected from the ACT rule starting in model year 2026, the Agency of Natural Resources must adopt this rule by the end of 2022.
With the collapse of the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI), Vermont adopting ACCII and ACT standards now are the most important step we can take to reduce the amount of fossil fuels Vermont uses to meet its transportation needs.