Adoption of California emission plan still pending in Delaware

Decision was expected in June
November 16, 2023

More than six months ago, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control officials held a public hearing as part of its plan to adopt California’s strict vehicle emission standards.

DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin was expected to decide on adopting California’s Advanced Clean Cars II low-emission vehicle and greenhouse gas standards at the end of June with final adoption of the regulations in July.

As of now, however, no decision has been made.

“The Advanced Clean Cars II regulations proposed for Delaware are under consideration, with no timetable for the secretary’s decision on the state potentially adopting them,” said DNREC spokesman Michael Globetti.

Globetti did not respond when asked what was holding up Garvin’s decision.

Gov. John Carney first announced in 2022 Delaware’s move to adopt California’s standards as part of the state’s commitment to the U.S. Climate Alliance. The California standard requires cars and light trucks to have zero emissions by the 2027 model year. Model year 2027 vehicles are available in 2026, the year Delaware’s zero-emission vehicle regulations would go into effect. Delaware’s plan also requires auto manufacturers to sell only zero-emission vehicles by 2035.

DNREC held a series of workshops in 2002 followed by a public hearing in April in which environmental activists supported the plan, and others questioned the high cost and reliability of electric vehicles.

Since then, Tesla – the world’s largest producer of electric vehicles – has cut prices for its vehicles, and commanded 50% of third-quarter electric vehicle sales, more than all other companies combined.

Other carmakers have announced significant losses on their models. Ford is losing an estimated $60,000 per electric vehicle, for a total projected annual loss of $4.5 billion, according to CNBC.

Higher interest rates, concerns about range, and limited recharging stations are some of the concerns raised over purchasing electric vehicles.

The push for electric vehicles has also come at a time when power companies are warning of decreased electric production because of a government push to shut down coal- and gas-powered plants.

During the Nov. 9 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 2023 Annual Reliability Technical Conference, PJM Interconnection, the power grid operator for the Mid-Atlantic region, voiced concerns over the Environmental Protection Agency’s New Source Performance Standards for Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

“Through the accelerating shift to renewable resources, maintaining an adequate level of generation resources with operational and physical characteristics that support reliability will be crucial for PJM’s ability to reliably serve electrical demand,” said Michael Bryson, PJM senior vice president. PJM and other power grid operators across the country weighed in with concerns in August that the EPA’s forced retirement of gas- and coal-powered plants will compromise reliability for the bulk power system that provides electric service to over 154 million Americans. 

 “Certain revisions to the rule, if adopted, would help to mitigate, although not eliminate, our reliability concerns,” Bryson said.

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