Virginia Legislature Passes HB 1965, Making It the First State in the Southeast to Adopt Clean Car Standards


Richmond, VA - Today, the Virginia State Senate passed HB 1965, which directs the State Air Pollution Control Board to implement a low-emissions and zero-emissions vehicle program for motor vehicles with a model year of 2025 and later. With this rule, Virginia joins 14 other states and the District of Columbia in adopting clean car standards. This bill will go to Governor Northam’s desk to sign and enact into law.

The bill was supported by a large coalition that included environmental and environmental justice advocates, health professionals, businesses, and auto dealers.

Transportation accounts for the greatest share (48%) of greenhouse gas emissions in Virginia, and associated air pollution from cars and trucks is also an immediate health risk.  A 2020 report from Virginia Clinicians for Climate Action found that fine particulate matter pollution (PM2.5) from Virginia's cars and light trucks contributes to 92 deaths, 71 non-fatal heart attacks and 2,600 child asthma attacks every year. The health impacts from reducing vehicle emissions are disproportionate across Virginia, as elderly, lower income and minority populations experience a 61% higher death rate attributable to our vehicle air pollution. 

The Advanced Clean Car standards works in combination with other complementary policies for electric vehicle incentives and increasing ridership on public transit to build a cleaner, more equitable transportation system.

“Our state lawmakers put Virginia on the path to be the first state in the Southeast to adopt clean car standards,” said Kelsey Crane, Sierra Club Virginia Campaign and Policy Director. “Coming into the 2021 session, the environmental community made it clear that lawmakers can’t commit to protecting the health of Virginians without addressing transportation pollution. Adopting clean cars standards will create jobs, save lives, and help preserve our climate. We commend the state legislature for adopting policy that puts climate action, communities and public health first, and we are hopeful that Governor Northam will sign the clean car standards bill into law.” 

“The clean transportation future is here, and Virginia has answered the call for cleaner vehicles. Momentum is building across the nation as more and more states and territories move forward with bold, life-saving policies to accelerate electric vehicle adoption and reduce dangerous transportation pollution,” said Rebekah Whilden, campaign representative with the Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All campaign. “This bill will ensure that Virginians don’t have to travel out of the state to purchase electric vehicles.”



About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.8 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit