Statement: Virginia State Senate passes vital clean cars rule

Key vote takes state one step closer to a clean car future
For Immediate Release

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Virginia Senate voted Friday to establish advanced clean car standards in the state. The bill, HB 1965, creates a low-emission vehicle (LEV) and zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) program. The LEV rule will strengthen regulations on tailpipe emissions for newly sold vehicles in an effort to reduce air pollution. The ZEV program works to ensure more electric vehicles are manufactured and sold in Virginia. 

Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to sign the bill into law. Once he does, Virginia will join 12 other states and Washington D.C. in adopting LEV and ZEV rules. Currently, Minnesota, New Mexico and Nevada are also considering implementing clean car programs.

Simon Horowitz, Global Warming Solutions associate with Environment America, issued the following statement: 

“By protecting public health and combating global warming, this clean car rule is a victory for not only every Virginian but every American. Transportation is the largest source of global warming pollution in Virginia, accounting for 48 percent of carbon emissions. Cars, pick-up trucks and SUVs are dirtying our air and harming our planet. While we need accessible public transit, safer sidewalks and more bike lanes, we understand the reality is many Virginians rely on cars. This bill means that the cars we drive will be cleaner and safer.

“With this vital act, Virginia joins a growing list of states who are making climate action and public health a priority. The Biden administration is now also considering strengthening the federal clean car standards, which would set stronger regulations for tailpipe pollution. However, this doesn’t mean states should hit the brakes on their own clean car rules. We need a multi-faceted approach on all levels of government. We urge Gov. Northam to sign HB 1965 into law, and serve as a leader for other states to adopt a clean cars program of their own.”     

Elly Boehmer, director of Environment Virginia, issued the following statement:

“The Virginia Senate’s vote to adopt the Advanced Clean Cars Program is a huge climate achievement. Last year, Virginia became the seventh state to commit to 100 percent clean energy with the passage of the Virginia Clean Economy Act. The Virginia General Assembly is now doubling down on this achievement. It’s a vote that solidifies Virginia’s role as a climate leader both in the South and beyond. Virginia is now just the fifth state in the nation to establish Low Emission Vehicle and Zero Emission Vehicle mandates as well as codifying a commitment to 100 percent clean energy. That’s leadership.

“We thank Del. Lamont Bagby for championing this bill and the Virginia General Assembly for advancing this critical climate bill to Gov. Northam’s desk. We look forward to continuing to work with the legislature and administration to further the electrification and decarbonization of transportation in the commonwealth.”