Colorado adopts California vehicle emissions standards

November 23, 2018

Last week, Colorado became the 13th state to adopt California's stringent vehicle emissions standards, which may make the Centennial State ready for a showdown with the Trump administration. 

The state's Air Quality Control Commission approved the California standard to begin for the 2022 model year. The commission claimed that the new regulations will reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the state by 2 million tons per year by 2030.

The adoption comes after Governor John Hickenlooper signed an executive order over the summer to embrace the California emissions regulations. With the order and adoption, Colorado becomes the first non-coastal state to follow the standards. The state's move to adopt the standards could make it tougher for the federal government to roll back Obama administration-era regulations. The Trump administration, the EPA, and the NHTSA will release a final ruling on whether the federal government will relax tailpipe emissions regulations next year.

READ THIS: Colorado squares off against EPA, will adopt California's stringent vehicle emissions rules

In its preferred proposal, the EPA and Trump administration said they would like to freeze emissions standards at 2020 levels. Currently, the California Air Resources Board and federal emissions standards are the same. Slackening federal standards would make California's requirements far more stringent. It could lead to a scenario where automakers build vehicles for two sets of standards; with Colorado on board, 40 percent of the U.S. new car market now follows California standards. The Obama-era standards will also see corporate average fuel economy standards increase to 50 mpg by 2025, a number that's not directly tied to EPA testing figures applied to every new car.

The Trump administration's proposal also seeks to strike down California's ability to set its own standards and create one national fuel economy standard for automakers. Many automakers are in favor of one national standard, though some have voiced opposition to a fuel-economy and emissions freeze at 2020 levels.

Colorado's standards have one major difference compared to California's: The state will not mandate electric vehicle sales despite a generous $5,000 incentive for electric car buyers in Colorado.

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