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USA: Plug In America: California Created Giant Loophole in New Electric Car Rule

any environmentalists and electric car fans cheered last week when California adopted new rules that require 15 percent of all cars sold in the state to be electric, plug-in hybrid, or hydrogen-powered by 2025. Even automakers were onboard. But the devil is in the details, and some plug-in car advocates believe the California Air Resources Board simultaneously engineered a positive spin on the rules—while creating a giant loophole allowing more modest gains in electric car adoption.

“Unfortunately, the California Air Resources Board, and particularly CARB chairwoman Mary Nichols controlled the spin battle on this one,” said Jay Friedland, legislative director for Plug In America, an electric car advocacy group. Friedland is referring to a so-called “greenhouse gas overcompliance provision,” which allows automakers to only produce about half the number of required pure electric cars it needs to produce between 2018 and 2021 under the new rule—in exchange for reducing the carbon emissions from its entire fleet by 2-gram-per-mile beyond targets.

“Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota are once again trying to game the system,” said Friedland. “CARB has let them off the hook just we see the great progress being made by Nissan, GM, Ford, Mitsubishi, Tesla, Coda, and other automakers truly committed to building a sustainable business around electric vehicles. The GHG overcompliance provision is a bad deal for California and for the United States.”


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