Natural Resources Chair Introduces AB 582 to Prevent Vehicles from Gaming Emissions Tests
(Sacramento) – Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D- Bell Gardens), today introduced legislation to provide new tools and resources to the Air Resources Board (ARB) that will enable them to stay current on new vehicle technologies that could game California’s clean air laws. The legislation is in response to the 85,000 Volkswagen diesel vehicles registered in California that were found to emit excessive nitrous oxide (NOx), using a software or “defeat device” that bypassed state emissions tests. The NOx emissions create nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, and ozone pollution.
“California has made large strides in cleaning up the air, but Volkswagen's cheating was particularly harmful because so many parts of our state still have some of the worst air quality in the nation. These pollutants cause lung disease, heart disease, and premature death, especially among the most vulnerable populations,” said Cristina Garcia, Chair of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee.
During the defeat device investigation it was discovered Volkswagen engineers realized-- ten years ago-- that the emissions control equipment installed in their diesel engines did not meet federal and California emissions standards. Instead of complying, Volkswagen purposefully skirted the law by developing defeat device software that detects when the vehicle is being tested and activates the emissions control equipment solely for passing the test. This allowed Volkswagen to extend the life of the emissions control equipment while appearing to be in compliance with federal and California standards. However, when not being tested, the vehicles emitted NOx up to 40 times the legal limit.
Recently, the ARB discovered that other automakers may also be using defeat devices to skirt California's policies. While ARB was instrumental in catching Volkswagen, the automaker’s vehicles were able to pollute California’s air for nine years before being discovered. AB 582 would direct ARB to enhance their new motor vehicle emission testing program to include more real-world condition testing. AB 582 would also give ARB the ability to secure additional funding to perform more independent testing.
“By enacting Assemblymember Garcia’s bill into law, California can say that never again will we allow a car company to cheat the state’s air standards - polluting our air and damaging the health of our people, “said Bill Magavern, Policy Director of the Coalition for Clean Air.
“My legislation keeps our state at the forefront of protecting Californian's and consumers from deceitful polluters. The people of California are tired of seeing entities gaming the system for their own benefits. The rules apply to everyone,” said Chairwoman Garcia.
AB 582 awaits referral to a policy committee for its first hearing.
The 58th Assembly District includes the cities of Montebello, Pico Rivera, Commerce, Bell Gardens, Downey, Norwalk, Bellflower, Cerritos and Artesia.
Contact: Teala Schaff