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USA: California air board to vote on landmark electric-car rules

In a move that could reshape the American automobile industry, California regulators Thursday are expected to approve sweeping new rules requiring that 15 percent of new cars sold in California by 2025 run on electricity, hydrogen or other systems producing little or no smog.

The regulations by the California Air Resources Board, dubbed the “advanced clean car rules,” would start in 2018, ramping up each year and ultimately resulting in 1.4 million “zero emission” vehicles on California roads by 2025. Today there are only about 10,000 such vehicles in the state.

“This is a really large step. It’s transformational,” said Tom Cackette, an engineer and chief deputy director of the air board. “Ten years from now

the market is going to look quite a bit different.”

The rules are the latest example of California’s influential role in reducing tailpipe pollution across the country. The Golden State was the first to ban leaded gasoline, require catalytic converters and limit vehicles’ greenhouse emissions. But unlike with many previous regulations, the auto industry isn’t fighting the latest groundbreaking California rules in court.

Apart from electric cars, the new proposal also affects vehicles that run on gasoline and diesel, requiring a 75 percent reduction in smog-forming emissions from new cars, SUVs, pickups and minivans. And they require a roughly 50 percent reduction in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. That will force carmakers to build significantly more fuel-efficient gasoline and diesel models.

The air board estimates that those regulations will add $1,900 to the price of a new car by 2025 — but will save $5,900 in gasoline costs over the life of the average vehicle.
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