New York Proposes ZEV Mandate Alternative

Alternative Compliance Program of ZEV mandate to lets carmakers meet initial 2004 requirements with Partial Zero Emission Vehicles, gradually moving to 100% compliance with California ZEV standards after 2006.

Published: 30-Jan-2002

Governor George E. Pataki today announced the State has enacted an alternative compliance program (ACP) under the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate to improve air quality while providing automobile manufacturers with flexibility in meeting vehicle emissions requirements.

The alternative regulation maintains the strict California Low-Emissions Vehicle (Cal LEV II) program and adopts California's stringent standards for heavy duty engines, starting in model year 2005. Changes made to the program by California this year necessitated that New York act before the end of 2001 in order to fully impact the ZEV mandate for model year 2005.

"By working hard to clean up the air we breathe and the water we drink, New York has become the national leader in protecting and enhancing our natural resources," Governor Pataki said. "With this alternative, we can make significant progress in limiting harmful vehicle emissions by getting more clean vehicles on the road sooner."

The California Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) standards for all light- and medium-duty motor vehicles originally adopted by New York in 1992 and modified in 2000 will meet federal air quality standards by reducing tailpipe and evaporative emissions of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides from vehicles up to 8,500 pounds. As part of this program, auto manufacturers had been required to offer 10 percent of their sales fleet as Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs).

New York participated with California, Massachusetts and Vermont in formulating a mechanism whereby automakers would be able to deliver greater numbers of cleaner vehicles while gaining flexibility under the ZEV mandate. With the assistance of such health and environmental groups including the American Lung Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense, the Lung Association of New York State and Environmental Advocates, DEC crafted a regulatory framework that will promote cleaner vehicles and emerging technologies.

Current State environmental regulations require that starting in model year 2005, ten percent of all vehicles sold in the state must be zero emission vehicles, typically electrically-powered. Under the alternative compliance program, automakers will have the option of substituting some partial ZEVs (PZEVs), which are vehicles that meet extremely low emission levels and have extended emissions system warrantees, to meet the state mandate. To qualify for this plan, manufacturers must agree to abide by the plan one year earlier than would otherwise be required.

During 2002, automakers will be required to state their intention to use the alternative compliance program (ACP) option and would develop a plan to meet these standards. The plan would be presented to the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner, who will ultimately decide whether to accept an individual automaker's ACP.

The ACP must, at a minimum, include the following commitments by the automakers:

Elizabeth C. Miller, CEO of the American Lung Association of New York State said, "We are pleased that Governor Pataki is continuing New York's commitment to require automakers to sell zero emission vehicles. Further, the flexibility of the alternative plan should end the decade long legal wrangling between the state and the auto companies; provide cleaner, healthier air for New Yorkers; and create a sustainable market for electric and hybrid electric vehicles. Whichever path the automakers choose, this regulation marks the dawn of a healthier era for New Yorkers."

Richard Kassel, Natural Resource Defense Council senior attorney and coordinator of its Dump Dirty Diesels Campaign, said, "For years, New Yorkers have breathed unnecessarily high levels of toxic diesel pollution, thanks to the diesel engine makers refusal to clean up their products. Thanks to Governor Pataki's groundbreaking step today, New Yorkers will be assured that new diesels in the state will be cleaner than ever."

Anne Reynolds, Air and Energy Program Director, Environmental Advocates of New York, said, "Clean car technologies are ready to go, and this mandate means New Yorkers will have more choices in 2004. Environmental Advocates appreciates Governor Pataki=s commitment to bringing clean cars to New York. State efforts to develop ZEV markets will bear fruit in the form of cleaner air and improved public health."

James B. Tripp, general counsel for Environmental Defense, said, AWe strongly support New York State's Alternative Compliance Program, in particular that it offers a significant incentive for auto manufacturers to produce and sell in the New York market a substantial number of advanced technology vehicles that accelerate the reduction of emissions."

DEC Commissioner Erin M. Crotty said, "This program maintains Governor Pataki's commitment to the highest standards for air quality, and will be a strong incentive for automakers to produce vehicles that will better protect public health and our environment."

New York's adoption of the heavy duty engine emission standard is part of a coordinated effort by many states to make sure that heavy duty trucks do not create excessive pollution. Adoption of these standards, the most stringent in the nation, fills a gap in the Federal standards from 2005 to 2007, when manufacturers would not otherwise be required to meet the emissions standards over their entire set of operating conditions. Twelve states, representing more than 35 percent of the heavy duty truck population, have adopted this regulation. The regulations are effective immediately.

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