Regulatory Group Approves Pennsylvania's Clean Vehicles Program
– Proposed changes to Pennsylvania’s Clean Vehicles Program, which would ensure cleaner, healthier air across the commonwealth at no overall additional cost to consumers, has been approved by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC). IRRC voted 4-1 to approve a plan that locks in model-year 2008 as the compliance date for the next phase of the state program. The program sets new emission standards for new passenger cars and light-duty trucks in Pennsylvania; it also requires automakers to make their overall fleet cleaner than would be required by the federal government.“The Clean Vehicles Program helps Pennsylvania be competitive so it can create the jobs we critically need and guarantee consumers access to vehicles that operate more efficiently, conserve fuel, and help break America’s dependence on imported oil,” said Pa. Gov. Edward G. Rendell.IRRC’s approval follows a 16-2 endorsement in September by the state’s Environmental Quality Board, also an independent regulatory review panel.The rulemaking still requires review by the state attorney general before becoming final. However, an effort is underway in the House of Representatives to repeal the standards, originally adopted in 1998. The House Transportation Committee acted suddenly two weeks ago to send Senate Bill 1025 to the full chamber for consideration. The House may take up the measure later this month before adjourning the two-year session.Pennsylvania’s Clean Vehicles Program will cut volatile organic compounds as much as 12 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions nine percent more than the less stringent federal standards, and result in a five-percent to 11-percent greater reduction of six toxic air pollutants, including benzene, a known carcinogen.The savings to consumers are estimated at about $3.50 to $7 per month in 2016 when the full program is implemented. These estimates were done with gasoline prices averaged at $1.74 per gallon.