California to consider a more stringent electric vehicle mandate

The California Air Resources Board is voting this week on whether to mandate a significant increase in the proportion of zero emissions vehicles sold in California by 2025.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is expected to vote this week on revisions to the state's zero-emissions targets for 2025. Current rules mandate that by 2025 four percent of vehicles sold in the state be battery-electric or fuel-cell cars or plug-in hybrids.

The proposed rules would increase that requirement from four to 15 percent. According to CARB, these types of cars would account for one in seven new vehicles sold in 2025. By the middle of the century, 87 percent of cars using California's state roads would have to be zero-emissions.

CARB argues that such stringent measures would lead to a 52 million ton reduction in climate emissions by 2025.

But not everyone supports the measure, and some fear that mandating automakers to produce cleaner cars won't necessarily sway consumer tastes.

“Mandates can leave cars unsold on dealers’ lots," said Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. "There’s always a certain ‘Field of Dreams’ thinking with regulations like this: ‘If you build it, they will come,’” she said.

Indeed, recent surveys have shown that consumer preferences, particularly among younger car owners, heavily favor hybrid cars over their zero-emissions counterparts. So mandating an increase in production of EVs would not necessarily increase their popularity among consumers.

While the immediate decision will only affect California, the state is often a bellwether for fuel-economy standards, so the board's decision could have an indirect effect on regulations in other states as well.

Photo: Chevrolet

via [New York Times]

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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