California made history in 1990 with the enactment of the Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Program. The ZEV Program has been the driving force behind the advance of cleaner cars now on the market. The program requires car companies to produce clean, pollution-free vehicles as a small percentage of their fleets. Zero-Emission vehicles have no tailpipe emissions and don’t require one drop of gasoline.

The ZEV Program has had an enormously positive impact on California and is a critical component in California’s efforts to reduce air pollution, global warming emissions and our costly dependence on foreign oil. The ZEV Program provides:

  • Improved Air Quality and Human Health

Over ninety percent of Californians live in areas that fail to meet federal air quality standards. Smog-forming pollutants, toxics, and particulate matter from gasoline vehicles aggravate asthma, bronchitis, and emphyzema. These pollutants contribute to premature deaths among people suffering from lung and heart disease. Cleaner vehicles mean cleaner air for Californians.

  • An Alternative to Oil Dependence

It’s no wonder the oil industry opposes the ZEV Program! California is now the world’s second largest consumer of gasoline. Vehicles that run on alternative fuels will help insulate consumers from fluctuations in the price of crude oil. They will also help reduce our dependency on foreign oil. In addition, California has the resources to lead the rest of the country, if not the world, in transportation technology. This new sector would create more and better jobs for Californians.

  • The First Step Toward a Pollution-Free Future

The ZEV Program is spurring the development of the clean technologies of the future. The refining and burning of gasoline pollutes our air, water, and land. Motor vehicles also create more than half of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. For a pollution-free future, we must move away from fossil fuels as our major energy source.

ZEV NOW Update

In January 2001, after a series of regulatory revisions, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) upheld the groundbreaking ZEV regulation. Now, as 2003 approaches, automakers are making plans to meet the requirement by providing for sale a variety of clean vehicles including a small number of pure electric zero-emission vehicles along with gasoline-electric hybrids and cleaner gasoline cars. This new generation of vehicles is rolling off the assembly lines, and California consumers are finally beginning to have a choice of cleaner cars.

In 2002, the ARB is preparing its final implementation plans for the ZEV Program. This website chronicles the regulatory history of the ZEV Program and provides information that supports the continued effort to get clean cars on the road in California.