The California Air Resources Board, apparently not satisfied with the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirements that every automaker’s fleet must average 54.5 mpg by the year 2025, has decided to tack on an additional requirement that 15.4% of each automaker’s lineup must be “non-polluting”.

These vehicles can be hybrids, fully electric, or hydrogen fuel cell powered, but they must have zero emissions. According to chairwoman Mary Nichols, 15.4% of an entire fleet is “a relatively modest goal”. What remains to be seen, however, is whether or not that many people will be interested in buying these vehicles, since the mere fact of legislation passed does not automatically equate to changing consumer tastes.

To help attract new customers to the potentially more expensive drivetrains, Nichols added that they would be considering rebates and/or tax credits to those who purchase the vehicles to help offset the higher cost.

Late last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the new CAFE standards that will apply to vehicles sold beginning in 2017. Federal government studies have found that these standards will save the average buyer of a new vehicle in 2025 $6,600 in fuel costs over the life of the vehicle.  Of course, offsetting this is the steeper price purchasers will pay for hybrid/electric drivetrains.  The NADA is now saying that new standards could make vehicles cost $3200 more!

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