Maryland Clean Cars Program
Adopted on November 19, 2007, The Maryland Clean Cars Program adopts California’s stricter vehicle emission standards. These standards became effective in Maryland for model year 2011 vehicles, significantly reducing a number of emissions including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). The VOC reduction achieved from this program was expected to be 3.4 tons/days greater than the existing Federal standards and the NOx reduction was expected to be 2.9 tons/day greater than the existing Federal Tier 2 standards that were in place at the time of its adoption. VOCs and NOx emissions help contribute to Maryland’s ozone problems.
The Clean Cars Program represented the first program that directly regulates carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Transportation is the fastest-growing source of CO2 in the U.S. and CO2 is the most prevalent GHG. In Maryland, approximately one third of CO2 emissions are emitted from cars. In addition to regulating GHG from passenger vehicles, the Clean Cars Program includes a Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) mandate that car manufacturers must meet. These vehicles produce zero or near zero tailpipe emissions and will further help reduce pollutants from the transportation sector and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
By adopting California’s standards, Maryland joined a growing number of states, currently at 14 (including the District of Columbia), committed to reducing the pollution from motor vehicles. In an effort to unify the federal and California programs. On May 19, 2009, President Obama announced new greenhouse gas (GHG) and fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles that will be set through a joint rulemaking process between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This action will now bring both the federal standards and California standards into harmony, effectively creating one national standard. In order to harmonize the implementation of the standards, California has agreed to allow compliance with the federal standards to count as compliance with its GHG standards from model years 2012 thru 2016.These new standards will be phased in beginning in model year (MY) 2012 and when fully implemented in MY2016 attain the same fuel economy and GHG levels as the California Program.
While the new national program does effectively match the California Program for new car emissions standards, remaining in the California Program provides some key benefits to Maryland. First, the California Program does have a zero emission vehicle (ZEV) requirement. This requires the auto manufacturers to provide an increasing percentage of ZEVs for the states in the California Program. Vehicles that can count towards this ZEV requirement are plug-in hybrids, electric vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles. By remaining in the California Program, Maryland has guaranteed that it will be the early recipient of these new advanced technology vehicles. The second benefit will be the option to adopt tighter standards beginning in MY2017. California has begun work on developing its next phase of emission standards. This LEV III Program would take effect in model years 2017-2025 and will address criteria pollutants as well as GHGs.
By adopting more stringent standards, initially the CALEV standards later followed by the 2012 federal standards, significant reductions in both localized pollution and greenhouse gases will be achieved. In fact, Maryland is expected to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 4.1 million metric tons (in CO2 equivalent) over the previous federal standards adopted in 2007.
For more information on Maryland's Clean Car Program and Federal clean air programs, please refer to the following resources: