California proposes new rules to boost clean car growth image

California’s powerful air quality regulator Air Resources Board (ARB) proposed on Wednesday new rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

The new plan would put 1.4 million electric, plug-in and hydrogen cars on the state’s roads by 2025. The program would also save drivers $22 billion in fuel costs, the ARB said. California, the biggest U.S. car market, has an ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

The new standard will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles by 34 percent compared to 2016 levels. California said that new, fuel-efficient technologies will increase the cost of a new vehicle by about $1,900, but those costs will be more than offset by $6,000 in fuel cost savings over the life of the car.

The state’s new rules also aim to stimulate production of so-called zero-emission vehicles, or ZEVs, which include cars that run on electric batteries and fuel cells. California wants ZEVs such as the all-electric Nissan Leaf or plug-in hybrids like Chevrolet Volt to make up more than 15 percent of new vehicle sales by 2025. By 2050, the state wants 87 percent of the cars on the road to be pure ZEVs.

Currently, only 1 percent of the cars registered in California are ZEVs. The ARB will consider adoption of the rules at a meeting on January 26.