Location: SCR 352
Briefing on Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards
COMMITTEE ON SELECT COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
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10:46 AM -- Briefing on Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards
Senator Scott called the meeting to order and introduced Chris Nevers, who is presenting on behalf of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Inc. (Alliance).
Chris Nevers, Vice President, Alliance, introduced himself to the committee and provided a brief description of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards. Mr. Nevers provided the committee with copies of his presentation (Attachment A). Mr. Nevers stated that the Alliance is dedicated to developing fuel efficient vehicles and sated that there are three federal agencies that regulate the greenhouse gas, petroleum usage and ozone levels, as related to CAFE standards. The agencies are the Air Resources Board, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Mr. Nevers discussed the low emission vehicle (LEV) program within the EPA and described the effects of that program. Mr. Nevers stated data shows that replacing an older car with a newer, fuel efficient car results in lower greenhouse gas levels and lower smog-forming pollution. Mr. Nevers discussed the One National Program and the progress of fuel economy progress and the final determination of the EPA. He stated that the EPA believes that most 2016 models meet 2020 standards, which are met primarily with a variety of conventional technology. He stated that, according to the EPA, CAFE standards can be met at costs near or lower than originally estimated. Mr. Nevers discussed the response of the Alliance to the EPA final determination of CAFE standards and stated that the Alliance would like to return to the process as originally agreed and re-engage with the auto industry to understand and address its concerns.
Mr. Nevers discussed compliance margins and electric vehicle consumer trends, as related to oil and gas prices. Mr. Nevers provided background on zero emission vehicles (ZEV) and the availability of ZEVs in Colorado. Mr. Nevers discussed the trend of ZEVs and the overall market share of ZEVs in Colorado. He discussed the rebate levels available with purchases of ZEVs as related to their advertised lease rates in California. He further discussed the efforts being made in California to encourage the purchase of ZEVs. He also described the barriers to achieving a high retail rate of ZEVs, including uncertainty of rebate funding, lack of charging stations available, and access to HOV lanes. Mr. Nevers explained that the National GHG, Fuel Economy, and Tier 3 programs are considered Fleet Average programs, and ZEVs are accounted for in the National GHG and Criteria Pollutant Programs in the fleet averages.
Mr. Nevers responded to questions from the committee regarding specific duties of NHTSA, the EPA, and ARB in relation to the regulation of green house gas. He provided background of the authority of those agencies ability to regulate green house gas and petroleum levels and explained how those three agencies work together.
Tim Jackson, Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, further responded to questions from the committee concerning fleet sizes over time and the quality of new cars and how newer cars retain their value.
Mr. Nevers and Mr. Jackson responded to questions regarding the availability of charging stations in the state of California and the availability of ZEV technology for trucks and sport utility vehicles in the future. Mr. Jackson discussed the CAFE standard and stated that it is more difficult to meet for trucks and sport utility vehicles. He also discussed the relationship between fuel economy and emissions levels.
The following persons gave testimony concerning electric vehicles and CAFE standards.
11:42 AM -- Will Toor, Director, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP), introduced himself to the committee. Mr. Toor discussed electric vehicles and the availability of EVs in Colorado and the policies in Colorado that encourage the purchase of electric vehicles in the state. Mr. Toor also discussed market projections of electric vehicle and air quality in areas that have electric vehicles, as well as other benefits of electric vehicles. Mr. Toor responded to questions from the committee regarding electric vehicles and how they relate to the current CAFE standards.
11:56 AM -- Michael Lawson, Manager of Special Projects for the City of Aurora, introduced himself to the committee and discussed the city's Smart Fleet Program. Mr. Lawson explained the estimated cost savings and the environmental benefits of the program. Mr. Lawson responded to questions from the committee regarding the program.
12:05 PM -- Mike McBride, Chief Executive Officer for Gunnison County Electric Association (GCEA), introduced himself to the committee and described GCEA. Mr. McBride discussed the electric vehicle fleet of GCEA and the benefits of such a fleet. Mr. McBride discussed rebate programs within GCEA for purchasing electric vehicles and the need for an improved electric grid to support the vehicles. Mr. McBride responded to questions from the committee concerning the reasons that GCEA promoted the purchasing of electric vehicles and the demographics of purchasers of electric vehicles in Gunnison County. Mr. McBride also discussed the rate structure of GCEA.
12:18 PM -- Alan Westenskow, Director, Business Development Proterra, introduced himself and discussed new technology developments in the automobile industry, specifically battery electric technology in busses. Mr. Westenskow explained that the Proterra has over 100 electric battery busses deployed throughout the country. In Colorado, Greeley, Boulder, and several ski towns are interested in electric battery busses for public transportation uses. Mr. McBride also responded to questions concerning cost savings of electric battery busses and distributed a brochure from Proterra for electric battery busses (Attachment B). Mr. McBride discussed developing battery electric technology in China as compared to the technology used in the United States and the costs of electric batteries for busses.
12:35 PM -- Christine Berg, Mayor of Lafayette and Moms Clean Air Force, introduced herself to the committee. Mayor Berg discussed efforts that the city of Lafayette has made in order to encourage lower emission levels and discussed health and community concerns due to oil and gas emissions and pollution in the state.
12:44 PM -- Kyla Peck, representing Moms Clean Air Force, introduced herself to the committee and discussed possible impacts of oil and gas emissions and pollution.
12:50 PM -- Dr. Jim White, representing himself, introduced himself to the committee and discussed recent research regarding vehicle emissions. Dr. White responded to questions from the committee.
01:06 PM -- Steve Szabo, representing himself, introduced himself to the committee and distributed materials regarding the cost of energy analysis (Attachment C). Mr. Szabo discussed the cost benefits of electric vehicles.
The committee adjourned.