State and Federal Standards for Mobile Source Emissions

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The assessments estimate the air quality impacts in some or all of the country for each proposed set of standards in isolation from other emissions-control policies. CARB does not directly consider public health benefits in its regulatory analysis of emissions standards because it uses its proposed standards to attain health-based NAAQS, which EPA has already assessed for public health benefits.

California estimates health impacts of air pollutants in its reviews of California ambient air quality standards. CARB routinely considers only the costs or impacts of its standards in its jurisdiction California and not in other states that might later adopt California standards, whereas EPA accounts for the costs and benefits for the entire nation in its assessments. CARB adopts emission-standard regulations in a public meeting with a public vote by board members.

Public comments during this hearing can result in modifications to final standards. CARB may also include requirements for periodic review of standards during which standards can be modified. A EPA regulation in-. California has its own ambient air quality standards that are lower than the NAAQS for some pollutants. However, California ambient air quality standards do not have any deadlines for attainment. In contrast to the flexibility CARB has in revising standards based on new scientific and technical information, EPA has historically developed new or revised mobile-source emissions standards only when directed or authorized to do so by Congress.

Such plans will improve estimations of emissions reductions. The estimations are a major part of assessing the impacts of emissions standards. The committee also recommends that CARB and EPA include, to the extent possible, air quality impact assessments as part of each rule-making, because the effect of reducing mobile-source emissions on ambient pollutant concentrations will vary from region to region. Although the committee did not have sufficient information to evaluate the safety issues associated with past regulations, it recommends that safety issues continue to be given careful consideration by EPA and CARB when setting mobile-source emissions standards.

Given that CARB and EPA emissions standards tend to require new technological developments, the committee also recommends that periodic assessments of technological feasibility be continued by the agencies for some of the more important standards. Periodic assessments will allow the standards to be based on the most current understanding of the science and technology. The waiver. Modeling Mobile Source Emissions. In some cases, waivers have been approved after vehicles and engines that meet the standards are already in the market.

EPA is required to provide an opportunity for interested parties to provide comment and to participate in public hearings, if hearings are requested. Each of these steps is time-consuming and perhaps duplicative. EPA must also conduct technical analyses of all comments provided by California, manufacturers, and other interested parties, further extending the time needed to issue a waiver decision. Although many California waiver requests are relatively straightforward and uncontroversial, EPA must nevertheless provide the opportunity for full public participation and subsequent technical analyses.

This time-consuming process creates uncertainty for California, other states considering adopting those California standards, and manufacturers. California, other states, and manufacturers all have a strong interest in obtaining EPA waiver decisions well before the applicable standards take effect. The committee recommends establishment of a two-track system for waiver requests.

Many California waiver requests have not been controversial, and EPA has not received any significant comments. EPA could expedite waiver requests that it considers noncontroversial, approving the waiver with a minimal analysis in a direct final decision without a full notice-and-comment process.

Alternative Fuels Data Center: Mobile Source Emissions Reduction Requirements

The final decision would be published in the Federal Register , and if any interested party raised a substantive objection to the decision, it would be withdrawn and subjected to the full waiver process. This expedited process would allow EPA to process quickly and efficiently those waiver requests that are noncontroversial, freeing up resources to focus on those that require more time and discussion.

The committee also recommends consideration of a mandatory time limit for EPA to review and issue a waiver decision for controversial waiver requests. The time limit could be based on existing timetables for the EPA waiver process. California is required to provide adequate lead time between adoption of state regulations and their implementation:. A time limit of 2 years or less for EPA review would place the review process between the adoption of the standards by California and the time that the standards take effect. Given the importance of the EPA waiver review and the need to conclude such reviews more quickly, EPA should ensure that sufficient resources are devoted to the waiver review process so that the quality of the review is not sacrificed to comply with new time limits.

The primary reason that other states adopt California emissions standards is to obtain additional emissions reductions to help attain and maintain the NAAQS. States first began using their authority under section of the CAA in the early s when New York and Massachusetts adopted California emissions standards for new light-duty vehicles.

To date, section authority has mostly been used to adopt light-duty-vehicle standards by various northeastern states, although a growing number of other states have adopted or expressed an interest in using this authority to adopt California standards for both light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles. Some states have cited additional rationales for adopting California standards. When considering emissions standards for on-road heavy-duty diesel vehicles, some states have indicated that they consider the adoption of California standards to be a safety net in case EPA delays similar federal standards.

When considering emissions standards for light-duty vehicles, even when current federal standards provide emissions reductions similar to those in California, some states expect that California will continue to reduce standards earlier than the federal program. In addition, some states have adopted or expressed interest in adopting the California greenhouse gas emissions standards. Manufacturers of mobile sources have raised objections to the adoption of California standards by other states.

Manufacturers contend that states overestimate the emissions benefits of adopting California standards and that California standards often provide no significant air quality benefits over the applicable federal standards. Other objections include the claims of incremental costs of producing additional California-certified engines, the risks of expanding technology-forcing experiments to a greater share of the national market, and the additional com-. Disputes have also arisen between the states and the manufacturers over the ability of California-certified vehicles to meet emissions standards and function properly under conditions in their states.

Up to this point, adopting states and manufacturers have resorted to the courts to resolve their technical and legal disputes when direct negotiations have failed.

California Emissions Laws - Who's Making the Rules? - 4 Minute Friday

Among the issues that have been litigated are whether adopting states also had to adopt California fuel regulations, whether electric vehicles designed for California under the zero-emission-vehicle [ZEV] mandate could be mandated in northeastern states where their batteries might not function properly in wintertime, and whether the California ZEV mandate met the definition of a standard that could be separately adopted by other states. The process by which a state adopts California emissions standards should be improved to aid in the resolution of the legal and technical disputes that often arise.

As the agency that has the overall authority for implementing the CAA, including the mobile-source provisions, EPA should consistently participate in the process of the adoption of California standards by another state. The committee discussed additional roles for EPA to improve the state adoption process and considered two possible alternatives. EPA would determine whether any new issues have arisen that were not considered in the California waiver for the same standard for example, issues related to technological feasibility, lead time, identicality, and cost and whether these issues provide cause for states to reject the standard.

EPA would further determine whether the state action is consistent with the requirements specified in section of the CAA.

Associated Data

EPA is given the authority to review and, under limited circumstances, deny a state adoption decision using a truncated waiver determination process. Such an assessment would have to balance the benefits of additional emissions reductions, increased flexibility for states to develop air quality management plans, and wider distribution of new technologies against the costs to industry and consumers. What role EPA is to have in the state adoption process is a policy decision that goes beyond scientific and technical considerations.

The committee disagreed as to which of the two approaches described above would be most effective. However, even if there is no change in the adoption process, non-California states should continue their efforts to work with manufacturers to minimize compliance burdens.

Consensus Report

As an example, the committee encourages northeastern states that have adopted California light-duty-vehicle emissions standards to implement a regionwide fleet-average emission standard rather than having each state meet a separate fleet-average standard. States that adopt California light-duty-vehicle emissions standards have supported the adoption by estimating the emissions reductions and. States with larger populations, such as New York and Massachusetts, tend to perform their own analyses.

Other states have relied on outside analyses, such as those conducted by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management. An area of active interest for emissions control is in small gasoline-powered engines 6 used in an array of equipment and applications. This is done by pre-certification emissions testing of one or more representative vehicles or engines.

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The Clean Air Act and the regulations adopted by EPA to implement Title II make it unlawful to import or introduce into commerce vehicles or engines that are not covered by a Certificate of Conformity. This includes situations:. Absent a valid certificate there is no way for EPA to be assured that the particular vehicle or engine in fact will meet the emission limits.

Manufacturers also must properly label their engines, offer specified emission system warranties, and timely report emission-related defects to EPA so that EPA can determine if a recall is needed. This enables EPA to determine what actions, if any, are necessary to address the defect.

Defeat device cases can involve computer code that controls how the engine operates under different conditions. The largest action brought by the Department of Justice on behalf of EPA relating to this defeat device prohibition was the action against seven manufacturers of heavy duty diesel engines, representing 95 percent of the U. However, other significant defeat device cases have been brought.