Delaware Becomes 12th State to Adopt Clean Car Standards to Improve Public Health, Address Climate Change

DE Adopts Advanced Clean Cars II Standard through Model Year 2032, Not 2035 as Initially Proposed

Mollie Michel, (718) 536-6336
Emily Murray, (805) 699-5254

Dover, DE – Delaware has joined eleven other states that have adopted the Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II) rule to become a leader in clean transportation. Regulators announced today that Delaware will be moving forward with the rule that sets gradual new electric vehicle (EV) sales targets reaching 82% through model year 2032. Delaware, having previously adopted state clean car standards, is for the first time adopting a zero-emission vehicle sales target. Delaware will officially be the first state to make such a leap in policy.

Clean air, health, business and climate advocates celebrated the Governor’s decision to pursue the clean cars ruleThe decision to adopt ACC II standards will help toward cleaning up Delaware’s transportation sector. As the most polluting sector in the state, transportation accounts for about 30% of total climate-warming emissions according to the most recent state greenhouse gas inventory. This rule will rapidly cut tailpipe pollution by putting more zero-emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road. Unlike Delaware, other states have chosen to adopt the original proposed rule that achieves 100% new EV sales by 2035.

Tailpipe pollution contributes to the climate crisis and puts the health of communities across the state at risk. Tailpipe pollution is known to cause or worsen asthma, lung disease, and cancer. Given the severity of the health harms associated with bad air quality and exposure to tailpipe pollution, advocates are encouraged that the Department has already stated they will review the program annually to ensure compliance and to make sure we have a pathway to a full 2035 goal as the market further develops. The American Lung Association estimates that between 2020-2050 the transition to clean cars and clean power generation will generate $5.2 billion in health benefits, 462 premature deaths avoided, and 11,200 asthma attacks avoided.

In response to today’s announcement, Delaware clean air, health, and climate advocates released the following statements: 

“This is a massive step towards providing clean options and clean air to Delawareans across the state,” said Dustyn Thompson, Chapter Director for the Sierra Club Delaware Chapter. “But this is just a part of a much-needed movement towards a healthier Delaware. The state and advocates across movements have to work together now to make sure this new rule is a success. We need to ensure equity in access to both the cars and the infrastructure needed to power them. But we also need to make sure that as we continue the transition to a clean transportation future that we don’t stop at 2032, but use that goalpost as an opportunity to review and go even further to help protect public health and do our part to combat climate change. We are eager to work with the administration and legislature to do what is necessary to make those goals a reality." 

"With so many of Delaware's communities suffering from poor air quality due to transportation pollution, we need policies in place to address the issue. That’s where Delaware’s adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars II standard comes in. Today’s announcement is a crucial step in the right direction for public health and for the climate," said Kathy Harris, Senior Clean Vehicles and Fuels Advocate, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). "These standards will provide many benefits to the state, including less air pollution, improved public health, and vehicle owner savings.”

"The science is clear: without sound policies to reduce pollution, the impacts of climate change will pose ever greater risk to Delaware -- now and for generations to come,” said Paulina Muratore, Transportation Campaign Manager at the Union of Concerned Scientists.“Switching from gasoline and diesel engines to electric motors is one of the most effective ways to reduce this deeply damaging pollution. We applaud the state on formally adopting ACC II, which provides a clear and achievable roadmap to a cleaner future and provide consumers with more electric vehicle choices." 

“DEEVA, the Delaware Electric Vehicle Association, welcomes the good news that DE has joined our neighboring states in adopting measures to promote zero emission vehicles," said Charlie Garlow, president of DEEVA. "This will not only reduce conventional pollution like smog and particulate matter, including cancer-causing toxic emissions, but it will also curb climate change problems. Then too, as our state and country consume less gasoline and diesel fuel, we will be cutting our use of imports that provide funds to oil driven and often oppressive governments abroad.”

"The Nature Conservancy celebrates the adoption of Advanced Clean Cars II today. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is vital to building a better climate future. ACC II is an equitable and sustainable policy that prioritizes people and nature.” said Emily Knearl, Delaware Director of Government Relations at The Nature Conservancy. "Thank you to the Delawareans who made their voices heard as part of this process and helped to send a clear message that climate progress is not an option, it’s a necessity."

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of 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