Release 97-21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                 CONTACT:    Jerry Martin
July 24, 1997                                                                                                    Richard Varenchik
                                                                                                                        (916) 322-2990

Air Resources Board Adopts New Test Procedures to Reflect
Real-World Driving Conditions

        SACRAMENTO - California's Air Resources Board (ARB) today adopted new test procedures and emission standards that require manufacturers of passenger cars and light and medium duty trucks to better control emissions during high-speed driving and when air conditioning units are in operation.

        Air Resources Board Chairman John Dunlap said, "These new standards continue California's worldwide leadership in motor vehicle pollution control by limiting emissions under virtually all driving conditions including high speed operation and air conditioning use."

        When introduced, the new tests and emission standards will affect new 2001 and later model Low Emission Vehicles (LEV), Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV) and Super Low Emission Vehicles (SULEV) sold in California. Those standards, which result from a five year cooperative effort between the ARB, US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and auto makers, will enhance California's already advanced motor vehicle standards and are expected to cut an added 133 tons of ozone forming hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide emissions per day by 2020.

        ARB member Joseph Calhoun said, "This regulation represents one of the most significant emission reduction measures in years. ARB staff has worked well with USEPA and auto manufacturers to develop a comprehensive package to effectively reduce emissions from new motor vehicles."

        The new test procedures, which measure motor vehicle emissions at speeds up to 80 miles per hour, compared to the 57 mph maximum of the current Federal Test Procedures (FTP), reflect identical actions taken by USEPA in October 1996 and are designed to allow automotive manufacturers to submit vehicles to just one set of tests nationwide. However, because in 2001 nearly all new California vehicles will meet at least LEV emission standards, compared to less stringent USEPA standards, California's new standards will result in less air pollution.

        In order to develop the new test procedures and emission standards the ARB and USEPA conducted research on how vehicles are normally driven. Those tests determined that vehicles driven under aggressive conditions emit much more carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxides than other vehicles. During a 1990 ARB test program, some vehicles emitted as much carbon monoxide in ten seconds as would normally be emitted in 20 minutes. Other tests showed that about 28 percent of all vehicle miles driven are outside of the parameters of the FTP test procedures.

        The emission standards for vehicles operating at high speeds or under stressful loads will reduce those emissions by about 50 percent from new, low-mileage passenger cars. The standard for vehicles with operating air conditioners is expected to reduce emissions by about 50 percent, compared to present emission rates. The ARB estimates that the new standards could cost between $29.00 and $39.00 per vehicle to implement.

        The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

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