Readers of my May 26 post were understandably confused as to whether California was on the verge this year of banning — or mandating — black cars in order to fight global warming.
On the one hand, I quoted Pat Bedard of Car & Driver magazine who reported that the Golden State “was going to institute a so-called ‘Cool Cars Standard’ as part of its effort to cut greenhouse gases by 30 percent by 2016. Black looked doomed. The (standard) wasn’t as simple as banning black cars, but it would have had the same effect.”
On the other hand, I also wrote that “by 2016 the standard would have become mandatory, with the good chance that the black-car rule would apply to the entire country. . . . But California regulators got cold feet. Green activists were worried about consumer backlash (you can buy any car you want as long as it’s black).”
Sorry about that, dear reader.
Let the record show that the correct answer is obvious. California’s “Cool Cars Standard” was an attempt to ban heat-absorbing black cars in order to encourage heat-reflecting paints, thus theoretically reducing A/C use by 30 percent and, by extension, 11.2 gallons of fuel per year per car.
Fearing a public backlash, California did indeed rescind the standard, only to regulate windshield manufacturers instead.
By 2012, all vehicles “must have windshields that reflect at least 30 percent (jumping to 45 percent in 2014) of solar energy, side glass and backlights that exclude at least 42 percent, and sunroofs that bar at least 65 percent,” reports Bedard.
I’m sorry I can’t report that that is an error.