TodayApril 15, 2022

California Air Resources Board (CARB) mandates EV buses

The California Air Resources Board today approved a first-of-its-kind regulation in the United States that sets a statewide goal for public transit agencies to gradually transition to 100 percent zero-emission bus fleets by 2040.

“A zero-emission public bus fleet means cleaner air for all of us. It dramatically reduces tailpipe pollution from buses in low-income communities and provides multiple benefits especially for transit-dependent riders,” CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols said. “Putting more zero-emission buses on our roads will also reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gases, and provides cost savings for transit agencies in the long run.”

Transit agencies currently deploying or planning on deploying zero-emission buses.

Transit agencies currently deploying or planning on deploying zero-emission buses.

Transit agencies currently deploying or planning on deploying zero-emission buses.

Full implementation of the regulation adopted today is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 19 million metric tons from 2020 to 2050 – the equivalent of taking 4 million cars off the road. And it will reduce harmful tailpipe emissions (nitrogen oxides and particulate matter) by about 7,000 tons and 40 tons respectively during that same 30-year period.

At the same time, The California Air Resources Board adopted a regulation establishing a statewide system for mandatory annual emissions reporting for stationary sources. The new system harmonizes statewide data submission requirements, bringing consistency in reporting deadlines and frequency of reporting, and making that data more easily accessible by the public.

The improved emission inventory data to be collected under the regulation is a key pillar in achieving the main objectives of both Assembly Bill 617 and AB 197. One main objective is to further protect public health by reducing the impacts of criteria air pollutants and toxic air contaminants within California communities. The new reporting system will help to ensure the state’s emissions inventory — the foundation of many of California’s programs devoted to protecting public health — is complete and transparent. Emissions inventory data is critical to understanding what air pollutants may contribute to adverse health risks or other community impacts.

California’s criteria air pollutant and toxics emissions data is currently collected separately by the 35 independent local air districts across the state. The districts are diverse in size, population, geography and the types and numbers of emissions sources. This diversity has led to variations in how — and how often — emissions data is collected, completeness of data collection and how it’s used and shared.

Assembly Bill 617 was developed in part to address issues of air pollution data inconsistency. AB 617 directs CARB to work closely with local air districts to create a uniform statewide emissions data collection system for criteria pollutants and air toxics. AB 197 also requires CARB to make available the emissions of greenhouse gases, criteria pollutants and toxic air contaminants for each facility that reports to CARB and to the air districts. The regulation adopted today will significantly increase access to useful data in user-friendly forms, such as mapping and graphs.

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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