February 28, 2021
An increasing number of states are looking to follow the precedent set by California and adopt stricter vehicle emissions standards as the Biden administration appears poised to green light those efforts.
The Virginia legislature this past week passed legislation to toughen its emission rules, and similar proposals are in the works in Minnesota and Nevada.
If successful, those states would join the 13 others, plus Washington, D.C., that have adopted California’s vehicle tailpipe emissions standard. During the Trump era, that standard was taken out of play.
For years, California was allowed by the federal government to set its own standards. The Trump administration revoked that authority, sparking a legal battle that’s yet to be resolved.
But as the Biden administration appears poised to reverse the Trump policy, states are laying the groundwork for implementing their own vehicle regulations.
“We’re seeing now that there’s almost a critical mass of states that have started to adopt these standards, and so it is going to provide a strong market signal that that’s the direction we need to go in order to reduce air pollution and to meet our state as well as national climate targets,” said Matthew Goetz, a senior associate at the Georgetown Climate Center.