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The former Tier 1 standards that were effective from 1994 until 2003 were different between automobiles and light trucks (SUVs, pickup trucks, and minivans), but Tier II standards are the same for both types.
These standards specifically restrict emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), oxides of nitrogen (NO), particulate matter (PM), formaldehyde (HCHO), and non-methane organic gases (NMOG) or non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC). Were phased in from 1994 to 1997, and were phased out in favor of the national Tier 2 standard, from 2004 to 2009.
Eleven bins were initially defined, with bin 1 being the cleanest (zero-emission vehicle) and 11 the dirtiest. Only the first ten bins were used for light-duty vehicles below 8,500 pounds GVWR, but medium-duty passenger vehicles up to 10,000 pounds (4,536 kg) GVWR and to all 11 bins.
A set of transitional and initially voluntary "national low emission vehicle" (NLEV) standards were in effect starting in 1999 for northeastern states and 2001 in the rest of the country until Tier II, adopted in 1999, began to be phased in from 2004 onwards.
Sulfur content in gasoline was limited to an average of 120 parts-per-million (maximum 300 ppm) in 2004, and this was reduced to an average 30 ppm (maximum 80 ppm) for 2006.
Ultra-low sulfur diesel began to be restricted to a maximum 15 ppm in 2006 and refiners are to be 100% compliant with that level by 2010.
The two least-restrictive bins for passenger cars, 9 and 10, were phased out at the end of 2006.
However, bins 9 and 10 were available for classifying a restricted number of light-duty trucks until the end of 2008, when they were removed along with bin 11 for medium-duty vehicles.
In 2009, President Obama announced a new national fuel economy and emissions policy that incorporated California's contested plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions on its own, apart from federal government regulations.