Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) has approved low-emission vehicle standards for new light-duty and medium-duty motor vehicles sold in the State, starting in 2022 model year.

The new standards are estimated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 2m tons annually by 2030.

“Adopting low emission vehicles in Colorado means we will continue to see more fuel efficient vehicles that get better mileage,” said Governor, John Hickenlooper. “This has been the plan for many years.

“I applaud the commitment of the Air Quality Control Commission and the Air Pollution Control Division to protect the quality of our air.”

The Air Pollution Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment proposed the adoption of LEV standards in response to Hickenlooper’s June 19 executive order, ‘Maintaining Progress on Clean Vehicles,’ which directed the department to develop a rule to establish a Colorado LEV programme incorporating the requirements of the California LEV programme.

The Commission unanimously approved the new standards which incorporate specific provisions of the California low emission vehicle standards.

The Commission adopted Regulation 20, known as the Colorado Low Emission Automobile Regulation (or CLEAR), prompting Colorado to join 12 other States and the District of Columbia, which also have adopted California’s LEV standards. These States now make up nearly 40% of the new automobile market.

Only the Federal government and California have the authority to set new motor vehicle emission standards. New cars and light-duty trucks sold in Colorado currently are subject to the Federal Tier 3 emission standards. Under the Clean Air Act, California has the authority to adopt its own new vehicle emission standards.

Once California has adopted a specific set of emission standards, other States can choose to adopt those standards in lieu of the Federal standards, pursuant to section 177 of the Clean Air Act. California first adopted its LEV standards in the 1990s.

Currently, the Federal emission and California LEV standards are equivalent. With both sets of rules, the greenhouse gas emission limits become increasingly more stringent through the 2025 model year.