ANNAPOLIS — Governor Wes Moore on March 14 announced Maryland’s adoption of the multi-state Advanced Clean Cars II rule, a major step in his administration’s goal to improve …
ANNAPOLIS — Governor Wes Moore on March 14 announced Maryland’s adoption of the multi-state Advanced Clean Cars II rule, a major step in his administration’s goal to improve air quality and combat the effects of climate change. Maryland is moving quickly to adopt the regulation, which requires manufacturers to continuously increase the share of electric vehicles they sell, reaching 100% of passenger car and light truck sales by model year 2035.
“Today, we’re talking about a major transformation that is going to define this administration —and that’s how we turn Maryland from a state powered by oil and gas to a state powered by clean energy,” Gov. Moore said. “I am confident that the state of Maryland can and will lead the clean energy revolution.”
The Advanced Clean Cars II rule is a vehicle emissions standard first adopted by California using its unique authority under the federal Clean Air Act. Now that California has adopted the standards, other states can follow suit.
“Maryland has the most ambitious climate goals of any state in the nation and is recognized as a national leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions while growing our state economy,” the governor’s statement said. “The Advanced Clean Cars II rule, coupled with strong federal and state incentives, will be one of the state’s most important emissions reduction measures.”
According to a Maryland Department of the Environment analysis, 383,000 fewer new gas-powered vehicles would be sold under the new rule by 2030, rising to 1.68 million fewer conventional vehicles by 2035. Between 2026 and 2040, the rule will deliver additional vehicular reductions of more than 6,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, as well as reduction of vehicular and power plant carbon dioxide emission by more than 82 million metric tonnes. By 2040, these reductions may potentially provide net in-state health benefits equal to about $39.9 million per year due to decreases in respiratory and cardiovascular illness and associated lost work days, the statement said.
“The Advanced Clean Cars II regulation is a big step toward cleaner air and a more aggressive response to the threats posed by climate change,” Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Serena McIlwain said. “This rule will help position us to meet the goals of our Climate Solutions Now Act and 2030 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act Plan while bringing economic benefits to Marylanders.”
According to Baltimore Gas and Electric, electric vehicles cost roughly one fourth as much to drive as gasoline cars in Maryland. Electric vehicles also generally have lower maintenance costs, and there are state and federal tax incentives for their purchase.
To help make electric vehicles available to all Marylanders, the rule also features flexibility that encourages manufacturers to provide electric vehicles in overburdened and underserved communities, including community-based ridesharing or car sharing programs.
"As a business at the forefront of mobility solutions, we know that technology and market demand are both ready to support the transition to clean vehicles,” said Siemens Head of External Affairs and Policy, Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Ryan Dalton. “Strong state standards that reflect the escalating consumer demand and set clear expectations for market growth over the coming years are key to managing the transition. We support the adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars II rule in Maryland because it is the best way to attract investment and provide predictability for manufacturers, companies, workforces and consumers alike."
To adopt the rule as quickly as possible, the Maryland Department of the Environment presented the proposed regulation to the state’s Air Quality Control Advisory Council at its first meeting of the year. The council voted to recommend that the department move forward in proposing a regulation to enact the new standards. MDE will follow the process for a proposed regulation, which includes a public hearing and opportunity for public comment, to allow for a regulation to take effect in September.
"By acting so immediately to advance zero-emission vehicles and reduce harmful emissions, Governor Moore and Secretary McIlwain are backing up their pledge to position Maryland as a national leader in fighting climate change and its contribution to environmental injustices," said Executive Director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters Kim Coble. “The Advanced Clean Cars II Rule is a proven policy for reducing greenhouse gasses from transportation and will jumpstart Maryland's implementation of the landmark Climate Solutions Now Act.”
The House Republican Caucus responded to the announcement that Maryland will automatically follow California’s lead and ban the sale of gas-powered cars in Maryland.
“It is both unfortunate and counter-productive that Governor Moore has made the false choice to move forward with this radical environmental policy that has not been vetted for its impact on our state,” said House Minority Leader Jason Buckel. “This is a policy that was created in California. It is based on California’s economy, California’s transportation needs, and California’s electrical grid.”
“Today’s announcement was treated like a celebration, with the practical realities of this policy completely ignored,” said House Minority Whip Jesse Pippy. “The average price of an electric car is over $60,000 – the price of a luxury vehicle. This is not something that is affordable for many Maryland families. Currently, only 1% of the 5.2 million automobiles registered in Maryland are electric. Under this policy, 43% of new vehicle sales in Maryland must be electric cars by 2027.”
“Maryland will likely be the only state in the region moving forward with this radical environmental policy,” said Del. Buckel. “Our state does not exist in a vacuum, and these policies will do little-to-nothing to impact emissions in our region. All it will do is put more stress on the household budgets of Marylanders. It is completely irresponsible.”
In their 2023 Legislative Package, House Republicans included HB 487 – Affordable Emissions Standards Act of 2023. This bill would require studies of the impact on Maryland’s economy, the state’s budget, and the effect on Maryland’s power grid before this new regulation could go into effect. House Bill 487 had a hearing in February and no other action has been taken.