Volume III, Number 1
eMDE is a monthly publication of the Maryland Department of the Environment. It covers articles on current environmental issues and events in the state.
During the 2007 legislative session, Maryland's General Assembly passed the Clean Cars Act, joining with 11 other states and Canada in requiring the sale of cars with California’s stricter emission standards. Governor Martin O’Malley signed the bill into law on April 24. By adopting the Clean Cars Program, Maryland has taken a prominent step in the State’s efforts to protect public health, restore the Chesapeake Bay and reduce global warming emissions.
In the United States, there are two types of motor vehicle programs: the federal program (also called the Tier 2 Program) and the California Clean Car Program (also called the CA LEV 2 Program), which is generally stricter than the federal Tier 2 Program. In addition, the CA LEV 2 Program reduces greenhouse gas emissions and provides additional reductions in air toxics and ozone forming emissions over the federal Tier 2 Program.
Many gases are considered greenhouse gases, but carbon dioxide (CO2) is the largest source of greenhouse gases by volume. Transportation is the fastest growing source of CO2 emissions and currently accounts for about one-third of all CO2 emissions in Maryland. The Clean Cars Program will significantly reduce CO2 emissions, as well as volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides (NOx). NOx are pollutants linked to Maryland’s ozone, fine particle and nitrogen deposition problems. Air toxics (such as benzene, 1,3, butadiene and acetaldehyde) can directly influence public health.
When fully implemented, the Clean Cars Program will reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 7.8 million tons per year. This is equal to removing one 1,200-megawatt coal-burning power plant from the state. Toxic pollutant emissions will be reduced by over 80 tons per year and ozone-forming emissions will be reduced by nearly nine tons per day.
The Clean Car Program will begin with model year 2011 vehicles and cover all new gasoline and diesel vehicles, including passenger cars, SUVs and pickup trucks. Once these eleven states and Canada fully implement the clean car standards, over one-third of all new vehicles sold in North America will have to meet these new, more environmentally-friendly standards.
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