Law and Policy

Pollution Science

Motor Vehicles

Industrial Sources

Citizen's Toolkit


Other Resources

Order Now
California is leading by example - Zero Emission Vehicles

Memoranda of Agreement (MOA):

In order to establish a program which allows vehicle introductions to be voluntary, but requires continued investment in battery and vehicle development, demonstration, and commercialization, the (California) Air Resources Board (ARB) entered into a separate memorandum of agreement (MOA) with each of the seven largest auto manufacturers - Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota. Each MOA represents a cooperative agreement between the auto manufacturer and the ARB and commits both parties to tasks designed to ensure the successful launch and long-term success of the ZEV program.

Principle Elements of the MOA:

The seven largest auto makers agreed to:

    • offset the emission benefits lost due to the elimination of the ZEV requirements in model years 1998 to 2002 by opting-in to the National Low-Emission Vehicle program beginning in 2001, three years earlier than could be required under federal law;
    • continue investing in ZEV and battery research and development and to place up to 3,750 advanced battery-powered ZEVs in 1998, 1999, and 2000;
    • participate in a market-based ZEV launch by offering ZEVs to consumers in accordance with market demand;
    • provide annual and biennial reporting requirements.

The ARB has committed to:

    • facilitate the purchase of ZEVs in state fleets;
    • work with other state agencies, local governments and private industry to address various infrastructure issues;
    • continue to work with emergency response officials to create a comprehensive emergency response training program; and
    • support reasonable incentive programs.


The ARB will conduct biennial reviews of the ZEV program. The most recent biennial review took place July 30, 1998. A manufacturer that fails to comply with the requirements of the MOA will be subject to fines and could be subject to the reinstatement of the ZEV requirements prior to 2003.


Benefits of the MOA:

  • Market-based ZEV launch which is consistent with manufacturers' product introduction plans and estimates of market acceptance -- production commitments already made for four models
  • Continued progress and investment in critical technology
  • Cooperative effort on implementation issues
  • Reporting requirements to keep the process "honest"


Historical facts

  • The invention of the additive tetraethyl lead for gasoline in the 1920s was a great technological advance, improving the performance of gasoline-fueled engines. But in 1924, reports began to appear of the harmful effects the substance had on humans. People working closely with tetraethyl lead had died suddenly and mysteriously. The reports were hushed up and leaded gas continued to power big American cars for another 50 years. Today we know that while lead is good for cars, it is bad for people. Although finally banned in the U.S. and other industrialized nations, leaded gasoline continues to be used in many developing countries where it is a continuing health risk.

Source: www.nrdc.org