Advanced Clean Cars II – Advocacy Alert

Advocacy Alert: Reach Out To The Legislators on the ACC II Legislative Review Committee

Contact information is provided at the end of this post.

What follows is a not so brief background that could easily be a lot longer. There is also be an upcoming webinar, produced by the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network. Scheduling and registration link here:

Clean Cars, Clean Trucks, and the Fight for Clean Air

Monday, October 30 – 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm


ACC II Is Follow-on to California Emission Standards

When the federal Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, it recognized that California had already established its own regimen of emissions standards. California, particularly the Los Angeles area, had already been grappling with smog for a long time. And so California was given a waiver to continue to establish its own standards, which were more stringent than the federal standards. That is the overly-simplistic history of why there are two standards.

Many states, including Connecticut, have followed the California standard for tailpipe emissions, which became the de facto standard for manufacturers. It was easier for them to live with the more stringent standards than to have different vehicles for sale in different sets of states.

The acronyms that you hear around this are ACC (Advanced Clean Car) regulations and CARB (California Air Resources Board), the state agency that sets the California standards. The first set of ACC regulations addressed light-duty vehicles for model years 2015 – 2025. This follow-on set of regulations, known as Advanced Clean Cars Two or ACC II, begins with 2026, although the CT version would start a year later due to the current timing of enactment. The CT version is the CA version. The choice is binary: use the weaker federal standards or the more stringent CA option.

Why Do We Need This?

It’s obvious, right? Just look at the chart at the top (data from NASA, published by Axios). But, aside from global warming, there are local concerns.

  • Air quality in CT is terrible. The state receives failing grades from the American Lung Association and fails to meet federal air-quality standards.
  • The transportation sector accounts for about 38% of greenhouse gas emissions but also a significant amount of Nitrogen Oxides, a component of smog, and particulate matter. These contribute to cardio-pulmonary disease, cancer, low birth weight and birth defects.
  • ACC II applies to all vehicles, in other words, trucks as well as cars. The pollution profile varies for different classes of vehicles, but it’s all bad.
  • This is an important environmental justice measure. Pollution and its public health consequences fall disproportionately on disadvantaged communities.
  • The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, DEEP, analyzed the impact of ACC II on CT and modeled enormous reductions in greenhouse gasses and pollutants as described in the table below.

Pollution Savings from ACC II

Health Benefits

According to the American Lung Association, CT can expect the following health-related benefits from cleaner air.

  • $11.5 billion in monetized health benefits
  • 1,060 premature deaths avoided
  • 22,900 asthma attacks avoided
  • 120,000 lost work days avoided

Wide Support

It may not come as a surprise that the EV Club supports this, along with other Connecticut EV Coalition members including Save the Sound, Acadia Center, and the Sierra Club, along with numerous other environmental organizations.

Charles Rothenberger, climate and energy attorney at Save the Sound and manager of the Connecticut EV Coalition, spoke at our September 9 Northeast Electric Vehicle Symposium (NEEVS) on this timely topic. “Two decades ago, Connecticut became a leader on cleaner transportation by adopting the Clean Cars I standards. Now it’s time to take the next step in achieving the kind of emissions reductions that the best available science tells us are essential for the health of people and the planet. Taken together, the regulations introduced today will provide long overdue updates to our vehicle standards, placing Connecticut on the path to transforming and modernizing the transportation sector and providing substantial environmental and health benefits for the citizens of Connecticut.”

The most controversial part of the regulations is the requirement that manufacturers no longer produce ICE vehicles as of 2035 (light-duty). Everything has to be a plug-in vehicle, though up to 20% of the plug-ins can be PHEV.

The automotive industry is lining up behind these regs. A number of manufacturers have already announced they are transitioning their fleets to electric roughly in this time frame. The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade association for the legacy manufacturers, has endorsed it, as has the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association.

The dealers seem to be taking a more neutral position. Their job is to sell what the manufacturers produce. However, the National Automobile Dealers Association states on its website: “Electric and hybrid vehicles are here, and America’s vast franchised dealer network is eager, excited, and essential to the successful deployment to the mass retail market. Dealers are all-in on EVs and are investing billions of dollars in their stores and staff to improve the purchasing experience and reduce barriers to electric-vehicle ownership.”

These regulations are needed to make a meaningful dent in our toxic, climate-warming emissions. The goals in the Paris Agreement of 2015 feel increasingly out of reach absent decisive action.

Its overarching goal is to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and pursue efforts “to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.” To limit global warming to 1.5°C, greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 at the latest and decline 43% by 2030.

ACC II provides a lengthy time horizon during which there is a gradual transition to zero-emission vehicles. Importantly, they provide a degree of certainty regarding marketplace conditions to the manufacturers, as well as manufacturer incentives for the building of affordably priced EVs.

ACC II Nearing the Finish Line, But a Potential Hurdle Remains

The CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) received legislative authorization on a bipartisan basis to develop the rule making and conduct the required analysis. That part is finished. There has been a public comment period with a response from DEEP. The Office of the Attorney General has signed off on the regulations. The final step before going to the Governor is for the Legislative Regulation Review Committee to sign off on it. The committee is composed of 14 legislators with equal representation from both parties. The committee’s assignment is to review the regulations for adherence to legislative intent (which they clearly do). Now, some members of the committee are signaling that they may try to block the regulations and the Republican caucus is taking steps to make a public case. Here’s but one example.

If you clicked through to that article, you can see the FUDsters are out in force. And even though this originates with the Repubs, don’t make the mistake of thinking the Dems are immune to the pressure. We will be publishing additional content to address some of the questions being raised about the grid, the cost of EVs, and the economic impact. There’s a lot to shovel. The regulations require a minimum of a tie vote to be enacted.

Please Take Action to Let Regulation Review Committee Members Know Why ACC II Is Positive for Connecticut

We ask your help to support the passage of these regulations. Contact as many of the committee members as you can using their information is below, asking them to support ACCII. You are welcome to use the bullet points above as a guide to your messaging.

Position     Chamber     Party         Name (Email) Towns Represented Website
Co-Chair     House       D Dathan, Lucy New Canaan, Norwalk
Co-Chair Senate R Kissel, John A. East Granby, Ellington, Enfield, Granby, Somers, Suffield, Windsor, Windsor Locks
Ranking Member House R Carpino, Christie M. Cromwell, Portland
Ranking Member Senate D Maroney, James J. Milford, Orange, West Haven, Woodbridge
Member House R Klarides-Ditria, Nicole Beacon Falls, Derby, Seymour
Member House D Arnone, Tom Enfield
Member House D Godfrey, Bob Danbury
Member Senate D Hartley, Joan V. Middlebury, Naugutuck, Waterbury
Member Senate R Kelly, Kevin C. Monroe, Seymour, Shelton, Stratford
Member House R McGorty, Ben Shelton, Stratford, Trumbull
Member Senate D Osten, Catherine A. Columbia, Franklin, Hebron, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Marlborough, Montville, Norwich, Sprague (Baltic)
Member House D Ryan, Kevin Ledyard, Montville (Oakdale), Norwich
Member House R Fishbein, Craig C. Middlefield, Wallingford
Member Senate R Cicarella, Paul Durham, East Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Wallingford