Just when CAFE loosened standards and lowered from 56.5 MPG to 54 MPG by 2025, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has decided to propose new and more stringent conditions for automakers that sell cars in California. The California Air Resources Board will not only enforce CAFE, but will also require at least 15.4 percent of all cars sold by any major automaker in the state to either be fully electric, plug-in hybrid, or hydrogen fuel cell by 2025.
Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, observes 15.4 percent as, “a relatively modest goal, but that’s all that we’re mandating. Probably the most heartening aspect of this whole rulemaking was the level of cooperation that we received from the industry… Overall, the degree of support for the package was just extraordinary.”
It is worth noting that earlier this month, researcher LMC Automotive discovered that hybrid sales in the United States have decreased in 2011 to 2.2 percent compared to 2.4 percent of all vehicle sales in 2010. These numbers are far below the proposed 15.4 percent mandate. Despite high profile unveilings of gas-electric products at auto shows across the world, consumers find the cost premium of owning a hybrid over conventional combustion engine vehicles too expensive.
According to the California New Car Dealers Association, this plan would cause automakers to increase the average price of a new vehicle by an estimated $3,200 in order to develop technology that will accommodate the new rules. Appropriately, Mary Nichols also said, “direct incentives to people who buy these cars (like) rebates and credits” are also being worked out.
California’s new regulation will likely be adopted by an additional 10 states, resulting to the projected total number of advanced green vehicles near three million total units by 2025, 1.4 million of which would be in California.