DC Council Passes Clean Cars Act

WASHINGTON, May 13-A bill aimed at strengthening tailpipe emissions standards in Washington, DC became law today. The “Clean Cars Act” will regulate carbon dioxide emissions from all cars registered in the District beginning in 2011 and ensures that DC will greatly reduce its contribution to global warming.

“Global warming poses a serious threat to all District of Columbia residents,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “DC today took an important step towards implementing significant solutions to our global warming crisis.

The bill addresses automobile pollution that greatly contributes to global warming and human health problems such as asthma while also strengthening the current standards for automobile emissions that form smog and carcinogens like benzene. It also adds carbon dioxide – the leading cause of global warming – to the list of regulated automobile pollutants, and requires that a small percentage of new cars sold each year are advanced technology vehicles such as hybrids.

“I am proud to see our nation’s capitol taking the lead on global warming solutions, said Holly Gorman, DC Campaign Coordinator with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “I applaud the DC council members who voted to enact Clean Cars legislation. They took an important step towards tackling the serious issue of automobile pollution and global warming.”

The District joins 18 other states, including Maryland, in adopting California’s stricter tailpipe emissions standards.

The bill does not call for radical vehicle changes. It is designed instead to tap existing technologies to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide – the three chief greenhouse gases (GHG) contributing to global warming.

Not only is the Clean Cars Act good for the environment, it will also save consumers money. While cars will cost an estimated $1000 more, the average consumer will save approximately $40 a month on gas as a result of increased auto efficiency.

The Clean Cars Bill was introduced in the DC City Council by At-Large council member Phil Mendelson, Ward 6 council member Tommy Wells and Ward 3 council member Mary Cheh on February 6, 2007.