Rhode Island Adopts California Emission Standards

LEV II emission standard to apply to all new vehicles sold in the state beginning with the 2008 model year.

Published: 28-Dec-2004

PROVIDENCE - Governor Donald L. Carcieri today announced that the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) filed regulations that adopt the latest California Low Emission Vehicle II (LEV II) new vehicle emission standards for new vehicles sold in Rhode Island beginning with model year 2008.

"Rhode Islanders have always deeply cared about protecting our environment," said Carcieri. "These tough new emissions standards will significantly improve the health of our environment, and the health of our citizens. Air pollution erodes our quality of life and our quality of place. Although much of Rhode Island's air pollution emanates from outside our state, it is incumbent on us to take the economically feasible steps necessary to reduce homegrown sources of pollution."

The California LEV II program requires reductions in tailpipe and evaporative emissions from new passenger cars, light-duty trucks and sport utility vehicles sold in the state. The new regulation will only apply to new vehicles. Most car dealerships in Rhode Island currently stock vehicles that adhere to this new standard.

The California LEV II standards are technology forcing standards that will assure new and cleaner automotive technologies are brought to the marketplace. The standards require that 10 percent of the autos and light trucks be so-called zero-emission vehicles. Auto manufacturers are encouraged to meet this requirement by using advanced automotive technologies such as fuel cell vehicles and hybrid-electric vehicles or even gasoline-powered vehicles that have no or nearly no emissions. The proposed amendments would offer a voluntary compliance option, giving manufacturers an incentive to place zero emission vehicles in Rhode Island before that sales requirement takes effect in model year 2008.

Under the federal Clean Air Act, individual states must adopt either the federal Environmental Protection Agency's national auto emissions standards or the California Low Emissions Vehicle emissions standards. Rhode Island currently adheres to the national emissions standard. However, California's standards provide additional emissions reduction benefits over and above what the federal program is expected to achieve. Rhode Island joins Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, and New York in adopting the California program. New Jersey is in the process of adopting the California standards.

The California LEV II program will provide substantial reductions in new vehicle exhaust emissions over the next two decades. It will reduce hydrocarbon emissions in Rhode Island by 16 percent, air toxics emissions by 25 percent, and greenhouse gas emissions by two percent, by the year 2020.

Vehicles in Rhode Island contribute more than 80 percent of the toxics in our air, which pushes the toxic levels above health benchmarks, according to DEM's air quality monitoring data. Hydrocarbons from vehicles contribute to Rhode Island's inability to meet safe ozone standards on certain days in the summer.

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