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California air regulators will propose next month that electric vehicles, hybrids and other "clean" cars make up at least 15 percent of new automobile sales within the state by 2025.

For model years 2018-2025, the state's "zero-emission vehicle" mandate will put 1.4 million clean cars on the road in California by 2025, Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols said yesterday in a call with reporters.

California's long-term goal is to have low- or zero-emission vehicles make up 80 percent of in-state sales by 2050.

The new proposed targets for zero-emissions vehicles are part of a series of goals that the agency first adopted in 1990.

Under the rules, each manufacturer will need to have an increasing proportion of its sales coming from hybrids, pure electric vehicles, fuel cells and other low-emitting cars starting in 2018. The state will also offer $15 million in rebates of $500 for battery-only hybrid-electric vehicles and $1,500 for plug-in electrics.

The regulations will be released Dec. 7 for a 45-day comment period followed by a board vote Jan. 4, 2012.

Nationally, together with other states that have adopted California's program, the standards could ensure that 5 million vehicles are provided to consumers. The rule should also help achieve the federal 54.5-mpg goal. In order to get to 54.5, there will have to be a significant penetration of zero- and low-emission vehicles. (Reprinted from Greenwire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC,