Clean Cars Benefits

Why Clean Cars?

Clean cars will help reduce air pollution and protect public health. Getting clean cars on the road will have the added benefits of helping consumers save money and supporting new jobs and investment in California’s clean energy economy.

Healthy Air

Despite progress made in recent decades, California is still home to some of the dirtiest air in the nation—and passenger cars and trucks are a leading cause. Each year, California’s air pollution crisis contributes to thousands of premature deaths, hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks, and thousands of trips to the hospital for California families.

Protecting Consumers

In addition to saving California consumers billions at the pump, cleaner passenger cars and light trucks will protect them from price spikes due to world oil market uncertainty. Stringent clean car standards also will ensure that consumers have many options, including advanced technology gasoline cars, hybrids that use even less gasoline, plug-in hybrids that switch between gasoline and electricity, and all-electric battery or fuel cell cars that use no gasoline at all.

Jobs and Investment

Policies that put cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars, trucks and SUVs on California’s roads will drive consumer savings, spark job creation, and spur economic growth in California. A study by the non-partisan, non-profit research organization Next 10 finds that the most stringent passenger vehicle standards produce the most positive results in terms of job creation, household savings, Gross State Product, and emissions reduction.

Reducing Climate Change Pollution

Climate change is linked to extreme weather, sea level rise, reduced Sierra snow pack, increasing wildfires and worsening air quality. It’s obvious that we must act now. Carbon pollution contributes to climate change, and the majority of California’s carbon emissions come from the state’s cars and trucks. California’s Clean Cars Program is the tool that can deliver the single-biggest cut to those emissions.

Leading the Nation

California has a history of leading the nation with vehicle standards. Because of its air quality problems, California was granted unique authority under the federal Clean Air Act to adopt emissions standards that are more stringent than federal rules. It’s the only state with this authority. Fourteen other states and the District of Columbia adopted California’s previous Clean Cars Program, which formed the basis of the harmonized National Program. California retains authority to adopt more stringent standards, even though it currently accepts the National Program as its vehicle GHG emissions rule.

As the state looks forward and considers the need to update its own Clean Cars Program to meet new 2030 emissions reduction goals, California will lay another foundation for states and the federal government to further increase their commitment to advanced clean cars.

Leading the World

Around the world, competition is growing for increasingly scarce resources. Nations that invest in clean technologies such as clean cars will have a leg up in the international market. Moving forward on clean car technology means California has an opportunity to be a global leader once again.