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California Economic Policy, Report · September 2007

Learning from California’s Zero-Emission Vehicle Program

Louise Bedsworth and Margaret R. Taylor

Although it received little notice when it was created in 1990, the Zero-Emission Vehicle program has helped to bring thousands of extremely clean new vehicles to California roads by 2007. The result has benefited air quality, but through very different means from those the program’s creators intended. This issue of California Economic Policy explores the development and modifications to the state’s innovative ZEV program, and the issues it raises at the intersection of public policy and technology development. Lessons learned from the ZEV program may help in decisions about how California could most effectively tackle the problem of greenhouse gas emissions.