NY Governor Signs Legislation Promoting Purchase of Green Vehicles

Governor Eliot Spitzer recently announced that he has signed legislation designed to increase consumer awareness about greenhouse gas emissions. This law requires that automobile manufacturers affix a “global warming index” sticker to new cars and passenger trucks beginning in the 2010 model year, detailing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. New York is the second state in the nation to pass this innovative environmental legislation.

“Global warming is one of the most serious environmental problems of our generation,” said Governor Spitzer. “Every level of government, every business and every consumer can play a role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This new legislation will help make the public aware of vehicle emission levels so that they can make informed choices that will help reduce greenhouse gas pollution.”

New York State Commissioner of Environmental Conservation Pete Grannis applauded this legislation saying the label would be a valuable tool for consumers, similar to a car's miles-per-gallon rating: “This legislation will promote environmental consumerism by providing user-friendly information to enable buyers to take into consideration the impact a vehicle's emissions have on air quality and climate change.”

The requirement takes effect beginning with 2010 models, and applies to passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks with a gross weight of 8,500 pounds or less. Each sticker will include an index that: compares the emissions of global warming gases from the vehicle with the average projected emissions from all vehicles of the same model year, and identifies the vehicle model within its class with the lowest emissions of that model year. The index would be based on emissions of carbon dioxide, a major contributor to warming temperatures worldwide, in addition to methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.

California adopted similar regulations earlier this year, which will become effective for the 2009 model year. New York will likely model its labeling standards based on those set by California. By having parallel standards, automobile manufacturers would not be required to develop different stickers for different states and consumer groups would be able to provide uniform information to car buyers.

Adoption of this new law is the latest move in the Governor’s comprehensive environmental agenda. Earlier this year, Governor Spitzer announced his "15 by 15" plan to reduce electricity use by 15 percent from forecasted levels by the year 2015 through new energy efficiency programs intended to reduce energy bills, and greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollution.

This article originally appeared in the 08/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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