California Airport Car Rentals To Face Zero Emissions Laws In Future

California Airport Car Rentals To Face Zero Emissions Laws In Future

State mandates vehicles to transition to green alternatives by 2035

Rental cars servicing California airports are on the list of shuttle vehicles that must totally convert to zero emissions by 2035. The rule, approved on June 27 by the California Air Resources Board, will affect at least 13 airports in the state, including those based in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego and Oakland. Besides rental cars, the regulation also targets shuttles and other private and public fleets that transport people and goods to and from airports.

At least 1,000 shuttles and other vehicles are covered in the ruling, which was designed to cut down greenhouse gas emissions by half a million metric tons from 2020 to 2040. Those reductions are part of the state government’s game plan to reduce carbon emissions by 2030 to levels at least 40 percent lower than what was recorded in 1990.

Vehicle operators affected by the mandate could benefit by saving at least $30 million in fuel, fluids and maintenance expenses during that same period. The board, which passed the policy unanimously, also surmised that those savings will offset the capital needed to purchase zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) that will replace the current fleet.

“California continues its forward march toward a zero-emission future with airport shuttles presenting a great opportunity for showcasing this process,” said CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey. “Shuttles are a vital part of airport activity.  The transition to zero emission shuttles not only provides consumers with clean, quiet transport but will help further expand the reach of this ultra-clean technology into the heavy duty transportation sector.”

However, where car rentals fits into the scheme remains a grey area, as the ruling primarily targets fixed-route transporters, including airport shuttles that carry passengers to nearby hotels and parking lots. But given that car rentals are mentioned in the mandate, those companies could be also eligible for incentive funding to replace their internal combustion fleet. And like other operators mentioned, they can still hang onto their current vehicles for the rest of their design lifetimes.

While California has the toughest emission control measures in the U.S., the board stressed flexibility when they drew up its conversion schedule enabling vehicle operators to get access to incremental funding during the next 16 years. Starting in 2022, companies need to report to the board details of its current fleet. The following year, if any vehicles need to be replaced, the new acquisitions must be a zero-emission vehicle.

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