Connecticut's Proposed Emissions Standards for Cars and Trucks
The State of Connecticut, at the direction of the General Assembly, is proposing adoption of updated emissions standards for light-duty passenger vehicles (cars), and new emissions standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (trucks). These standards will make new cars and trucks up to 90% cleaner and will require vehicle manufacturers to deliver more zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) and other advanced technology vehicles like plug-in hybrids to Connecticut drivers while also increasing consumer protections.
The proposed standards would take effect in model year 2027, apply to new vehicles only (not to used cars), and do not prohibit owning diesel or gas-powered vehicles.
After 2027, the standards for passenger vehicles are phased in over time through 2035. And the ramp up for medium and heavy-duty vehicles is even slower, reaching 40-75% depending on vehicle class by 2035.
What does this proposal mean for CT residents? More low and zero emission vehicle options to choose from, better air quality, and lower healthcare costs due to respiratory and other illnesses are a few of the benefits. Fewer pollutants in the air will help Connecticut meet federal health-based standards for smog, which we currently fail to do, and that noncompliance is costing Connecticut businesses. These standards position Connecticut to be competitive in the growing ZEV market, be prepared for the inevitable shift to a ZEV future, and will also help Connecticut achieve its greenhouse gas emissions goals, part of a collective effort to defend our state against the worst impacts of climate change.
Current status: The Legislative Commissioner’s Office, which provides nonpartisan legal counsel to the members of the Connecticut General Assembly and their staff, has recommended that Connecticut’s Legislative Regulation Review Committee (LRRC), a bipartisan legislative committee that reviews such standards, approve the state’s proposed emissions standards for both light-duty vehicles (cars) and medium and heavy-duty vehicles (trucks). Both LCO recommendations can be viewed here:
This recommendation follows the Attorney General’s determination that the proposed packages are legally sufficient. The LRRC is scheduled to consider both standards packages at its November 28 meeting.
“We appreciate the comprehensive approach Connecticut has taken towards an electrified future…. Our association supports this electrified future.” - Alliance for Automotive Innovation
Frequently Asked Questions:
- What’s a zero emission vehicle (ZEV)?
- Will the price of ZEVs go down?
- Will the state’s electric grid and infrastructure be ready to handle all of the ZEVs that will be on the road?
- Did the Connecticut Legislature authorize these standards?
- Why can’t we write our own standards for CT?
- What exactly do the proposed standards do?
- What kinds of vehicles are covered by these standards, and will the technology be available to meet different use cases (e.g., Beverage Delivery Trucks)?
- How do I find Connecticut’s proposed standards and the records from the public hearings?
- Why do we need these standards to protect public health?
- Why are these standards important to combat climate change?
- Why are these standards important for Connecticut’s auto market?
- What other states are adopting the same standards?
- Are car manufacturers going in this direction anyway?
- Is this a ban on gas-powered vehicles?
- By doing this, are we handing over legislative authority to California?
- How long have we been following California’s emissions standards?
- Are these goals technologically feasible?
- When would the new standards take effect?
- What happens if these standards aren’t adopted?
- What are your plans to make sure the rollout is equitable?
- What if the infrastructure or the vehicle technology isn’t ready, will we be able to change course?
- Doesn’t a lot of our air pollution blow in from other states?
- I have heard that Connecticut is being penalized for being a nonattainment area. How is CT being penalized?
A ZEV is a vehicle that is certified to have zero, or near zero, tailpipe emissions by the California Air Resources Board. Examples include plug-in hybrids, battery electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Yes. The purchase price of ZEVs is expected to continue to drop in the coming years as battery cost falls and more EV models come available. The State continues to help residents of all income levels afford a ZEV through the CHEAPR program, and federal rebates are available to help to make ZEVs more affordable as well. Recent studies show that medium-sized battery electric vehicles will be less expensive than internal combustion engine vehicles as soon as 2026. Additionally, the total cost of ownership of ZEVs is cheaper over the life of the vehicle than an internal combustion vehicle.
Battery cost. The largest cost factor in an ZEV is the battery. The price per kilowatt-hour (kWh) is likely to fall from its 2021 high of about $160 to $80 by 2030, driving substantial cost reductions for ZEVs.
Economies of scale and increased offerings. As the number of available ZEV models increases, economies of scale and a wider variety of offerings, including smaller sedans, will bring ZEVs into price parity with conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Analysis by Bloomberg estimates price parity by 2025 for many models. California’s analysis predicts parity with ICEs in most vehicle segments by model years 2031-34.
Predictions for overall costs decreasing. The primary measure of the impact of cost should be the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of the vehicle, which includes not just purchase price, but maintenance and fuel costs. Economic modeling of TCO for ZEVs shows net cost savings (page 41). Results of California economic modeling show that battery electric vehicle (BEV) owners will save $3,216 over ten years in the most conservative case evaluated and will realize savings within the first year of ownership. Ten-year savings are much larger, at $8,835, with the lower cost 2035 model year BEV coupled with access to a home charger.
Government supports: Additionally, the Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate (CHEAPR) program offers incentives of up to $9,500 for Connecticut residents who purchase or lease a new eligible battery electric, fuel cell electric, or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. CHEAPR consists of three incentives, the CHEAPR Standard Rebate, CHEAPR Rebate+ New and CHEAPR Rebate+ Used.
All Connecticut residents are eligible for the standard rebate and Connecticut residents who participate in certain income qualified programs are eligible for the CHEAPR Rebate+ New and CHEAPR Rebate+ Used programs.There are also a number of federal tax incentives for electric vehicles as well as federal incentives and tax credits for installing EV charging infrastructure. More information can be found at CHEAPR - FAQ (ct.gov)
Will the state’s electric grid and infrastructure be ready to handle all of the ZEVs that will be on the road?
Yes. The state has been rolling out a range of initiatives and programs to prepare for the inevitable rapid expansion of ZEVs driving on Connecticut roads. Through its planning process, the State has taken steps to support its goal of 125,000 – 150,000 zero emission vehicles by 2030.
Existing planning already focusing on grid impacts of more ZEVs
- DEEP issued the Connecticut EV Roadmap, a comprehensive strategy for accelerating the deployment of electric vehicles, in 2020.
- The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Docket: This docket created a plan to provide funding through the utilities to install charging sufficient enough to meet Connecticut’s 2025 and 2030 electric vehicle sales goals of 125,000 vehicles. Further planning will account for increases in the number of vehicles, and other tools will help to improve consumer education and utility demand management to reduce impacts on the grid.
- Connecticut’s ZEV Charging Program, established by PURA and administered by the Utilities, incentivizes participants to charge their ZEVs during off-peak hours and to participate in peak demand events.
- The 2020 Integrated Resources Plan.
Public charging investments include:
- $6 million from Volkswagen Mitigation Funding for electric charging infrastructure
- $52 million coming to Connecticut via DOT's National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program
- Significant federal funding through the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
- Significant private investment.
- Modeling used the U.S. Department of Energy's EV Pro-lite modeling tool.
- Further planning will account for increases in the number of vehicles, and load management tools such as the National Renewable Energy Lab’s load management model will help to improve consumer education and utility demand management to reduce impacts on the grid.
- Connecticut’s regional electric grid operator, the ISO-New England, has demand response programs that incentivize ZEV owners to charge during off-peak hours.
- ZEV charging impacts further reduced by variable electricity pricing to encourage charging when the grid has surplus capacity, ensuring grid stability and reduced prices.
Yes. Connecticut started voluntarily following California’s standards for cars—passenger vehicles—in 1994 and the Legislature made it mandatory in 2004. We’ve updated our standards several times over the past 20 years to remain aligned with California’s standards. In 2022, the legislature passed the Connecticut Clean Air Act, which authorized DEEP to adopt regulations to follow California’s standards for trucks.
Connecticut is proposing two sets of regulations.
One set applies to light-duty vehicles; also called the Clean Cars standards, or the Advanced Clean Cars II standards, or the ACCII standards, or the passenger vehicles standard.
The second set is for medium and heavy-duty (MHD) vehicles, also called the Clean Trucks standards, or the Advanced Clean Trucks standards, or ACT standards.
For light duty passenger vehicles (Clean Cars): In 2004, Connecticut legislators voted nearly unanimously for legislation requiring the state to adopt standards mirroring California’s for light-duty passenger vehicles. See C.G.S sec.22a-174g(a). The State adopted the first set of standards in 2004, began implementing clean car standards in 2008 and has updated the standards periodically since then to maintain “identicality” with California’s standards.(The federal Clean Air Act requires states to follow either CA or federal standards.) The most recent updates to these light-duty standards are called “Advanced Clean Cars II.”
For medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (Clean Trucks): In 2022, Connecticut legislators voted in favor of legislation authorizing DEEP to adopt California’s standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles through the Connecticut Clean Air Act. See C.G.S. sec. 22a-174g(c). These standards are known collectively as “Heavy-Duty Omnibus” and “Advanced Clean Trucks.” S￼HYPERLINK "https://cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_446c.htm#sec_22a-174g" ee C.G.S sec. 22a-174g(c)￼.
Connecticut’s Attorney General’s Office completed its legal sufficiency review of the proposed standards in October 2023. This review, pursuant to C.G.S. 4-169, evaluates whether the proposed regulations conflict with any general statute or regulation, federal law or regulation or the Constitution of this state or of the United States. The AG’s Office approved the regulations.
Federal law precludes all states except for California, which has been regulating vehicle emissions since before the EPA was created, from setting emissions standards for new vehicles. States therefore have only two options to control air pollution from cars and trucks: follow the U.S. EPA’s standards, or follow the more stringent California standards. The CA standards give Connecticut a better opportunity to meet federal clean air standards as well as the greenhouse gas emissions goals set in statute under Connecticut’s Global Warming Solutions Act. The Connecticut Legislature chose to follow California’s standards for light-duty vehicles and authorizes the state to follow California’s standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The regulations proposed here therefore are modeled on California’s.
Therefore, Connecticut simply cannot adopt its own standards. To do so would violate the federal Clean Air Act and would be unenforceable. But Connecticut does work with California to ensure there are adequate compliance flexibilities in the rules to address the needs of Connecticut motorists.
Using California’s regulatory text is also beneficial because vehicle manufacturers are already familiar with it, and doing so reduces confusion as to the requirements.
The Federal Clean Air Act (CAA) grants the EPA original jurisdiction for establishing emission standards for new motor vehicles.
However, CAA Section 209 (42 U.S.C. § 7543) allows California to set its own emissions standards, as long as those standards are at least as stringent as the federal standards. California has been regulating vehicle emissions since before the EPA was created.
In turn, CAA Section 177 (42 U.S.C. § 7507) allows other states to adopt California’s standards as long as the state adopts standards that are identical to California’s, and as long as the standards provide a lead time of two model-years (which translates to four calendar years).
Over time, the standards will make new cars and trucks sold in Connecticut up to 90% cleaner and will require vehicle manufacturers to deliver more zero-emission vehicles to Connecticut drivers while also increasing consumer protections. Again, the standards apply to new vehicles only, not to used cars, and do not prohibit owning diesel or gas-powered vehicles.
The light-duty vehicle standards (Clean Cars, or “Advanced Clean Cars II,” or ACCII) would implement legislation adopted in Connecticut in 2004, requiring the state to adopt and remain consistent with California’s standards for light duty vehicles (passenger cars). These standards will require 90% cleaner emissions from internal combustion engines and will require vehicle manufacturers to deliver 100% zero emission vehicles, which include plug-in hybrid vehicles, by 2035. They also introduce assurance measures that strengthen battery life and warranty requirements for consumers.
The medium and heavy-duty (MHD) vehicle standards (“Advanced Clean Trucks”) were authorized by the Connecticut Clean Air Act (Public Act 22-25), which Governor Lamont signed into law in May 2022. They would require increasing percentages of MHD zero emission vehicle (EV) sales beginning in 2027 and running through 2035. MHD zero emission vehicle targets vary by vehicle class and would reduce emissions from internal combustion engine MHD vehicles by up to 75%. This legislation enables Connecticut to follow California’s program.
Both light-duty and MHD standards provide manufacturers with significant flexibility in meeting the requirements, allowing manufacturers to bring vehicles for sale in the state that are in demand in the state, whether hybrid, battery electric or otherwise. In addition, Connecticut has and will continue to support and develop incentive programs to help Connecticut residents and businesses purchase new electric and advanced technology vehicles (CHEAPR - Home (ct.gov)) and will continue to work with manufacturers to determine how to best deploy those incentive programs.
What kinds of vehicles are covered by these standards, and will the technology be available to meet different use cases (e.g., Beverage Delivery Trucks)?
Generally, the light-duty standards apply to passenger vehicles such as cars, and the medium and heavy-duty standards apply to trucks and buses. Certain distinctions and exemptions apply.
Different vehicle types fall into the classifications of light-duty (i.e., Class 1); medium-duty (i.e., Classes 2-3); and heavy-duty (i.e., Classes 4-8).
Even within these classes, however, the proposed standards carve out exceptions. For the light-duty requirements, emergency vehicles, military vehicles, used vehicles, and rental vehicles are among those vehicle types exempted. For the MHD requirements, buses, emergency vehicles, and used vehicles are exempted.
In addition, the standards entirely exempt offroad vehicles. That category includes certain construction and farm equipment such as tractors. In other words, these exempted vehicles are not subject to the proposed emissions standards; they can remain gas vehicles as far as these standards are concerned (other statutes and regulations might fill in the gaps).
Here are links for the draft standards and for the hearing record:
Light-duty Standard: eRegulations - Regulation Making Record For Tracking Number PR2023-020 (ct.gov)
Connecticut suffers from some of the worst air quality in the country, and emissions from cars and trucks account for most of the ozone forming air pollution in our state. The clean car standards are projected to reduce GHG air pollution by 30% by 2030, and the clean trucks standards are projected to reduce GHG air pollution by 18% by 2045. These standards could save the state anywhere from $272 million to $1.4 billion in avoided health care costs between now and 2050.
Connecticut’s air quality fails to meet several federal health-based air quality standards for ground level ozone (smog). Ozone is produced when air pollution, including emissions from cars and trucks, react in the air from March – September. Scientists have studied the effects of surface-level ozone on public health for decades, and EPA uses these studies to set and periodically update national air quality standards at levels intended to protect public health and the environment.
Breathing unhealthy levels of ozone impacts everyone, but is especially dangerous for:
- pregnant women
- children and teens
- the elderly
- people who work or exercise outdoors
- those who have pre-existing health conditions such as asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Emissions from cars and trucks account for most of the air pollution emitted in Connecticut that can form ozone. For example, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles – which include trucks, buses, and smaller delivery vehicles – account for as much as 53% of nitrogen oxide emissions, despite being only 6% of the on-road vehicle fleet. Nitrogen oxides (NOx) are a precursor to ozone. Reducing air pollution from cars and trucks is one of the most significant ways to reduce ozone levels in Connecticut and protect public health, especially for those who live near busy roads and highways.
Adopting these standards will provide significant emissions, climate, and economic benefits. The effect they will have on the state meeting statutory mandates in the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act is clear. We have projected that light duty vehicle emissions will be 9.81 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (MMTCO₂e) a year in 2025. By 2030, the proposed light-duty vehicle standards will reduce this to about 6.86 MMTCO₂e/year – a 30% reduction.
Additionally, owners can expect total cost of ownership (TCO) to be reduced due to lower fuel costs and maintenance, which could amount to $7,900 in savings over the first ten years of ownership.
Adopting the MHD standards will have similar benefits, as described in DEEP’s 2022 report, An Assessment of Connecticut’s Need to Adopt California’s Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicle Emission Standards. According to that report, emissions from trucks would be around 2.3 MMTCO₂e per year in 2045 without these standards but will be reduced to 1.9 MMTCO₂ a year, an 18% reduction, with these standards. According to that report, emissions from trucks would be around 2.3 MMTCO₂e per year in 2045 without these standards but will be reduced to 1.9 MMTCO₂ a year, an 18% reduction, with these standards.
Truck TCO would be expected to be about 18% lower under the standards. Adopting the MHD vehicle standards will also:
- Reduce carbon emissions by over 350,000 tons per year in 2050.
- Reduce smog-forming air pollution by over 750 tons per year in 2035 and over 900 tons per year by 2050. (By comparison, all of Connecticut’s fossil-fired power plants emitted 1,073 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) in 2022)
- Save Connecticut $270 million dollars in avoided health care costs over the period of 2020-2040, which could be as much as $500 million to $1.4 billion by 2050.
These standards will remove significant amounts of carbon emissions from our air, and by 2050, will be responsible for removing hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon from the air we breathe on an annual basis. We are already dealing with climate-related impacts- flooding, extreme heat, bad air quality, drought, impacts on forests, invasive species- and resulting costs associated with these impacts.
Connecticut is not on track to meet its statutorily required GHG emissions targets, which are essential for Connecticut to do its part to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The transportation sector is also the largest source of statewide greenhouse gas emissions at 37%. As DEEP’s most recent Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory found, emissions from the transportation sector are increasing, when instead they must decline by roughly one-third in this decade if the state is to meet its GHG reduction target for 2030. Medium and heavy-duty vehicles are responsible for 25% of the greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, despite being only 6% of the on-road vehicle fleet. To meet our targets, most new vehicle sales need to be zero-emission by the middle of the next decade.
These standards provide an important signal of certainty to automakers, and Connecticut’s auto market, that bolsters their investments in cleaner vehicle technologies. As described elsewhere in the FAQs, most car makers have already announced significant electrification targets over the next decade, and these standards ensure that Connecticut automakers can compete for ZEV sales with neighboring states, and that Connecticut residents have more ZEV options. The standards and the certainty they provide allow for parallel planning that will ensure all Connecticut residents and communities are prepared for a zero emission vehicle future.
The economic arguments in favor of these regulations are compelling, including:
- Most car makers have already announced significant electrification targets over the next decade and Connecticut’s adoption of the emission standards provide certainty to the auto manufacturers and supports their investments in cleaner vehicle technologies.
- More ZEVs are sent for sale to states with these standards. In turn, ZEV deployment will drive investment from private entities.
- Adopting these standards ensures that Connecticut residents have options to purchase a ZEV if they want one.
- More ZEVs available for sale in Connecticut helps us compete with other states in the ZEV market.
- These standards will help drive high-quality local jobs: ZEV and charging/fueling infrastructure design, manufacture, installation, and maintenance.
- Car dealerships in Connecticut say they are ready for the electrification of the auto industry.
- Reducing NOx and PM emissions by deploying more MHD ZEVs will save Connecticut $270 million in avoided health care costs by 2040 from a 2020 baseline, and that figure could be as much as $500 million to $1.4 billion by 2050.
The Truck Engine Manufacturer’s Association (EMA), who represent worldwide manufacturers of internal combustion engines and on-highway medium- and heavy-duty trucks, commented in support of the proposed MHD regulation, noting success is possible given supporting policies from the state. The Alliance for Automotive Innovation (Alliance), who represent major auto manufacturers, commented in support of the proposal and provided an outline for promoting ZEV adoption in Connecticut.
Several states, including several of our neighboring states, have either adopted or are in the process of adopting the standards. In total, the combined new vehicle sales of the currently adopting states will represent more than 50% of new vehicle sales in the United States.
While the list is continually expanding and tracked here, following are some current partners in adopting California’s standards;
- Who's with CT on light duty standards:
- 9 other states have adopted: CA, MA, NY, OR, VT, WA, MD, VA and CO
- 6 other states are in process of adopting: NJ, DE, RI, DC, ME and NM
- Who's with CT on medium and heavy-duty standards:
- 8 other states have adopted: CA, CO, MA, NY, NJ, OR, VT, WA;
- 4 other states are in process of adopting: MD, ME, NM and RI
In total, the combined new vehicle sales of the adopting states will represent more than 50% of new vehicle sales in the United States.
Air pollution does not respect state boundaries. It is critical for Connecticut that our neighboring states adopt these standards—and that Connecticut adopt these standards for our downwind neighbors.
Yes. Most car makers have announced significant electrification goals long before our first goal of 2035, including the following targets for EVs or ZEVs.
- BMW – 50% of new car sales by 2030
- Ford – 50% of all new models by 2030
- GM – 100% of all new cars by 2035
- Honda – 100% of all new models by 2040
- Hyundai – 17 new EV models by 2030
- Mazda – 25% EV models with all other models being hybrid by 2030
- Nissan – 40% of EV sales by 2030
- Stellantis – 50% all new sales by 2030
- Subaru – 40% of all new sales by 2030
- Toyota – 30 EV models by 2030
- Volkswagen – Will design its last ICE engine in 2027
The proposed standards tell manufacturers that we want more clean vehicle options in Connecticut. More ZEVs available in Connecticut helps us compete with other states offering these vehicles for sale as well. Many market participants have voiced their support for these standards.
No. The proposed regulations do not prohibit the use of a gasoline vehicle in Connecticut, and new gasoline vehicles will still be available for sale through 2034, although in decreasing numbers over time. Gasoline vehicles will remain on the road and continue to be available in the used vehicle market, and new plug-in hybrid vehicles will also be available for sale.
Additionally, the standards don’t strictly have an electrification requirement, as other technologies for zero emission vehicles may be used. In addition to battery electric vehicles or ZEVs, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, as well as fuel cell electric vehicles, will also be available to purchase new.
There is also additional flexibility for manufacturers to meet compliance requirements so the percentage of ZEV vehicles for sale in CT will be less than the requirement for that year for any given manufacturer. The Clean Car Regulations (ACC II) applies to each car manufacturer independently and there are eight flexibility provisions in the rule that each manufacturer may utilize. They are conditional and their use will depend on the facts and circumstances applicable to each OEM.
For example, if a car manufacturer used all available flexibilities, it would need to provide about 19% ZEVs in its fleet delivered for sale in Connecticut beginning in 2027 to comply with the 43% requirement.
These compliance flexibilities include:
- Throughout the program, a manufacturer may meet 20% of the obligation with hybrid vehicles; and in 2035, hybrid gasoline vehicles will still be available for sale.
- Manufacturers may meet 5% of their obligation through participation in Environmental Justice programs that make ZEVs easier to obtain for low and moderate income individuals;
- Use of historic banked credits until 2030 up to 15% of the obligation;
- Use of pooled credits (transferred from other states) in decreasing allowed percentages until 2030; and
- Trading for credits from other manufacturers.
Therefore, throughout the regulation manufacturers will be able to sell vehicles in Connecticut that meet the needs of the people of Connecticut and by adopting these standards, Connecticut will actually increase the purchasing options for Connecticut residents.
No. Connecticut legislators, elected by Connecticut voters, voted in favor of legislation adopting standards in line with California’s for light-duty vehicles back in 2004, and in favor of legislation adopting California’s standards for medium and heavy-duty vehicles in 2022 with the passage of the Connecticut Clean Air Act.
Additionally, Connecticut has been providing input on these standards, along with all the other partner states, to make sure that the states are ready to adopt these standards and are comfortable with them. For example, Connecticut gave input when California made the most recent changes in 2022.
Connecticut first adopted California’s low emission vehicle standards in 1994, effective with the 1998 model year. This is Connecticut’s 7th time going to the Legislative Regulation Review Committee (LRRC) to update the state’s standards on passenger vehicles in alignment with CA standards.
California and the adopting states coordinate with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) regularly to ensure the standards can be met by existing technology and to provide compliance flexibility for OEMs to meet requirements with vehicles that are in demand in the state.
If the standards are adopted this year, they would be in effect starting in the 2027 vehicle model year, giving manufacturers sufficient lead time to comply with the regulations.
If these standards aren’t adopted, Connecticut will revert to the U.S. EPA standards. Connecticut residents will have fewer ZEV options, investment in ZEV infrastructure will be slower, and emissions of criteria air pollutants will be greater, contributing to poor air quality and making it less likely that we will achieve our statutorily required GHG emissions reduction goals.
- We are already reverting back to federal standards for MY 2026, with all the consequences listed above.
- Connecticut auto dealers will be prevented from cross border trading because all bordering states require "California certified" vehicles.
- Connecticut consumers will face reduced choice and likely go directly to neighboring states with more ZEV options to purchase their desired vehicles.
- Economic impacts will include lost vehicle sales, lost sales tax revenue, potential for lost jobs – especially with dealerships in proximity to NY, MA and RI.
Connecticut currently fails to meet federal health-based standards for smog, and that noncompliance is costing Connecticut businesses money because federal law requires increased permitting and other additional measures for areas designated as in “nonattainment.” Without the California standards, State air quality plans will need to be updated, resulting in additional requirements on Connecticut business and industry to make up lost emission reductions needed to comply with federal health-based air quality standards.
The State is working to ensure the scale-up of zero emission vehicles in Connecticut is equitable in two key ways: Affordability and Access. We are already helping to lower vehicle costs for consumers through incentives, tax credits, and other financial supports for low to middle income residents. We will continue to ensure easy access to vehicle charging by removing barriers for renters to install EV charging infrastructure and through the development of more public charging stations for on-street charging.
1. Lower vehicle costs:
- As battery costs decrease, the cost of vehicles decreases; battery costs are decreasing quickly.
- The price "parity" of EVs with gas vehicles is near. (E.g., a 300-mile cross-over ZEV by 2030.)
- "Total Cost of Ownership" analysis shows ZEV owners start saving in first year of ownership.
- Credits to manufacturers for selling to LMI consumers will incentivize affordability.
- Additional CHEAPR incentives are available for LMI consumers.
- Federal tax credits and other financial supports help LMI consumers.
2. Equitable and easy access to EV charging:
- PURA has allocated millions for Multi-Use Development (MUD) and at home charging. Additionally, planning efforts are ongoing to increase funding for MUD charging.
- PA 22-25 (CT Clean Air Act) removed barriers for renters to install EV charging infrastructure.
- Technologies are rapidly advancing: by 2035, we expect to see major innovations in on-street charging and more.
Yes. If we get to point where it appears that the technology or the infrastructure deployment is such that we would not be able to meet the standards, the standards will change to help suit our needs. This has happened on several occasions in the past with the California standards.
While much of Connecticut’s air pollution crosses our borders from other states, transportation remains the largest source of our “home grown” air pollution in Connecticut and there are significant localized health effects from transportation related air pollution that contribute to high incidences of asthma and other respiratory illness, particularly in environmental justice communities. By driving down air pollution as much as 90%, Cleaner cars and trucks driving on our roads will have real and positive effects for all of Connecticut’s residents but especially those who live in communities that are overburdened by transportation related air pollution. Furthermore, adopting the most stringent vehicle standards allows Connecticut to:
- Convincingly argue to EPA and our sister states that Connecticut is doing everything within its power to reduce air pollution and others should be doing more (e.g., demonstrating our clean hands to EPA)
- Argue for EPA to adopt more stringent vehicle standards and “harmonize” the federal and CA standards to achieve the greatest environmental and public health benefits for Connecticut residents.
I have heard that Connecticut is being penalized for being a nonattainment area. How is CT being penalized?
In 2022, two additional CT counties were reclassified as in severe non-attainment of the U.S. EPA’s 2008 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
These consequences include:
- Redesignation to the next highest (worse) classification, which often entails the imposition of new control requirements on sources within the nonattainment area (e.g., reasonably available control technology (RACT) for sources that emit oxides of nitrogen (NOx) or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and increased offset requirements under the nonattainment new source review program).
- In the case of the recent redesignation of the SW CT nonattainment area from “serious” to “severe,” this means that:
- The ‘major source’ threshold for applicability of certain clean air act requirements, including Title V permitting, NOx RACT and VOC RACT, was cut in half from 50 tons per year to 25 tons per year potential emissions.
- The offset rations for nonattainment New Source Review are increased from 1.2:1 to 1.3: 1 – meaning for every new ton of emissions from a new major stationary source, 1.3 tons of offsets (a type of credit) must be purchased and retired.
- Sources newly subject to Title V (a permit program) must apply for and obtain a permit within 12 months.
- Another air quality plan must be submitted to EPA showing additional air emission reductions, and photochemical grid modeling showing attainment by the next attainment date.
- A CAA sec. 185 fee program must be developed as well. The CAA sec. 185 fee program must provide for collecting fees from each major stationary source of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and oxides of nitrogen (NOX) for each calendar year following a failure to attain the ozone standard by the applicable attainment date.
- If the area fails to meet the standard by the severe area attainment, then the 185 fee program must be implemented. This is a risk in SW CT (Fairfield, New Haven and Middlesex Counties) if we fail to meet the 2008 ozone standard by the next attainment date.
- If the state fails to submit any of the required plans or programs listed above, EPA issues a “finding of failure to submit”. The state is then put on a “sanctions clock” per sec 19(b) of the CAA. See: Status of Active Sanctions Clocks under the Clean Air Act | US EPA– This provides states 24 mos to cure the deficiencies after which time EPA must issue sanctions (e.g., increased NSR offset ratio 1:5:1, issuing a federal implementation plan, possible withholding highway funding)
Terms and Definitions
NOx – Nitrogen Oxides, are a pollutant emitted through combustion.
OEMs – Original Equipment Manufacturers
Ozone – Ground level ozone (smog) is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC). This happens when pollutants emitted by cars, power plants, industrial boilers, refineries, chemical plants, and other sources chemically react in the presence of sunlight. It is a harmful air pollutant that can make it hard to breathe for anyone when in high amounts and is especially harmful to at risk populations (people with asthma, children, the elderly).
Light duty – passenger vehicles up to 8,500 lbs. Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
LMI – Individuals or families with low to moderate income.
MHD – Medium and Heavy duty vehicles, which are passenger vehicles and trucks that have a 8501 lbs. GVWR and up. “Medium duty” vehicles are 8501 lbs. to 14,000 lbs. “Heavy-duty” vehicles are 14,001 lbs. to 33,000 lbs.
LEV – “Low Emission Vehicle.” California’s LEV program requires manufacturers to certify engines to emissions standards for nitrous oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM).
ZEV – “Zero Emission Vehicle” is a vehicle that is certified to have zero, or near zero, tailpipe emissions by the California Air Resources Board. Examples include hybrids, battery electric vehicles, and hydrogen vehicles. California’s ZEV program s a regulatory structure that requires manufacturers to sell a certain percentage of ZEV certified vehicles as a percentage of their total deliveries.
Content last updated November, 2023