The California Air Resources Board on Monday issued a draft plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks by 30%.


According to Reuters, the air board’s plan, which had been expected, would phase in reductions of gases linked to global warming in two steps for cars and trucks sold in California from 2009 to 2014.


The board reportedly set year-by-year levels for emission cuts for a passenger car/light-duty truck class and a second light-duty truck category – the reductions would range from 2.3% in 2009 to 30% for cars and trucks sold in 2014.


The proposal to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases will be open for comment until July 7, and a final draft will be issued early in August, the board reportedly said.


The board is scheduled to consider the final plan on September 23, Reuters noted.


“The proposal protects public health and conforms to the language and spirit of Assembly Bill 1493, which requires the ARB to limit emissions from California passenger cars that contribute to global warming,” Catherine Witherspoon, executive officer of the ARB, told the news agency which noted that environmental groups familiar with the draft plan, however, had called for a higher reduction level of 40%.


The Union of Concerned Scientists, a science and environmental group based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, reportedly had said that based on its analysis, California could hit a 40% cut in emissions within 10 years.


But a General Motors spokesman told Reuters last week: “Our view is that innovative technologies like the one we’re already putting in our cars and trucks will be the answer.


“Consumers will be able to buy full-sized hybrid pick-up trucks later this summer. We’re confident hydrogen will be the long-term fuel of choice … Our goal is to establish commercial viability of hydrogen technology by 2010,” GM’s Dave Barthmuss told the news agency.


Reuters noted that the California agency was required by state law to produce an emissions reduction plan by 2005 to be reviewed by the state legislature – the plan would go into effect in 2006 and give car and truck makers until the 2009 model year to begin meeting emission rules.


According to the report, the board’s staff identified ways for carmakers to improve the performance of car engines, transmissions and drive trains to cut emissions and also analysed “technology packages” for cleaner air.


The average cost for the initial 2009-2011 phase would range from $US241 for light duty cars to $326 for big pickups and sport utility vehicles, the board reportedly said.


Average costs for the 2012-2014 model years would range from $539 for light duty cars to $851 for heavier vehicles, the board said, according to Reuters.