Recommitting Connecticut to cleaner air and more fuel-efficient cars, Governor M. Jodi Rell today signed "An Act Concerning Clean Cars" into law at a Norwalk auto dealership."Cleaner running cars will mean cleaner air for all of us," said Governor Rell during the bill signing ceremony at McMahon Ford in Norwalk. "This law represents another step toward a cleaner environment and demonstrates Connecticut's commitment to building a more secure energy future for our state. This is not, however, the final step. I am confident that we will craft a bi-partisan comprehensive plan to ease the escalating costs of energy."
Under the new law, a label must be affixed to vehicles detailing the vehicle's greenhouse gas score, its score as compared to others of the same make and year, and the average score for vehicles within the same class. This will begin October 1, 2007.
The Environmental Protection Agency rates cars on a scale of zero to 10, where a score of 10 represents the lowest amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted. The score is determined by the vehicle's estimated fuel economy and its fuel type.
Many chemical compounds found in the Earth's atmosphere act as "greenhouse gases." These gases allow sunlight to enter the atmosphere freely. When sunlight strikes the Earth's surface, some of it is reflected back toward space as infrared radiation (heat). Greenhouse gases absorb this infrared radiation and trap the heat in the atmosphere. In the U.S., greenhouse gas emissions come mostly from energy use. These are driven largely by economic growth, fuel used for electricity generation, and weather patterns affecting heating and cooling needs. Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, resulting from petroleum and natural gas, represent 82 percent of total U.S. human-made greenhouse gas emissions.
The labeling program will be funded through a $5 fee on new car registrations beginning January 1. The Department of Motor Vehicles will deposit these fees into the federal Clean Air Act account, which will provide ongoing funding for the GHG labeling and public education programs.
This law bars the sale or lease of a 2009 or later model year motor vehicle without the required GHG label. It also applies to vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less.
"We are currently making steady progress in the areas of energy conservation and environmental protection," Gov. Rell continued. "Recently, Connecticut along with six other states supported a Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and adopted regulations to implement the second phase of the California Low Emission Vehicle program.
"We are also bringing cleaner and more fuel efficient cars to the State of Connecticut. We recently purchased 575 alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles for our Fleet Operations. Some of these new cars will get up to 60 miles to the gallon and help us protect our environment."
Gov. Rell is also committed to making sure that everyone in Connecticut knows what GHG means. Under this law, the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Motor Vehicles will create an education program that includes information about the environmental impact of motor vehicle GHG emissions and the impact of vehicle choice on such emissions. The bill is Senate Bill 660, An Act Concerning Clean Cars.