California has long led the U.S. in establishing innovative, technology-driving, and effective emissions-reducing regulations in the light- and heavy-duty vehicle sector. As explored in this report, California has achieved significant reductions in emissions due to these programs, leading to healthier air and meaningful steps toward state contributions to climate change and serving as an incubator for technological development. Just as importantly, California has also served as a proving ground for policy and technological innovations that have since been adopted across the country and world. The environmental and economic gains of these policies have thus been multiplied as state actors, investors, technology developers, and industry apply lessons learned, ultimately improving the efficiency, affordability, and effectiveness of environmental initiatives across the country and beyond.
This report highlights key examples of California’s leadership role in setting technology-driving standards later adopted by other states, EPA, and countries around the world. This begins with the first tailpipe standards, which, then and today, pushed forward technical innovations. Since then, California has implemented standards for gasoline and diesel emissions standards, mandatory targets for zero emissions vehicles and, most recently, tailpipe standards for greenhouse gases.