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AUGUST 1998

Court overturns ZEV mandate

The Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has overturned New York's "zero emission vehicle" (ZEV) sales mandate, saying that the federal Clean Air Act clearly preempts the state's current program.

The ZEV mandate required seven leading auto makers to set aside a portion of their new car sales for electric vehicles in New York. New York adopted the ZEV mandate as part of a larger regulation that adopted the state of California's vehicle emission program. Federal law allows states to follow the federal program or that adopted by California (with the EPA's approval).

In 1996, California delayed its ZEV sales mandate until 2003, but New York kept the 1998 deadline. The court said this violated the federal Clean Air Act.

The ruling came just days after the release of a major study that sharply criticized the mandate. The Cost of Zero, a study by Policy Resources Group, concluded that the mandate would severely disrupt the state's $30 billion new car sales industry.

August 20, 1998