Planet Gore

Don’t Fall For The Old Banana In The Tailpipe Trick

Governor Schwarzenegger is busy lobbying Team Obama to allow California to adopt it’s own rules governing tailpipe emissions.  NY Times Green Inc. blog:

As my colleague Felicity Barringer noted in a brief article, California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, sent a letter on Wednesday to President Obama requesting a long-sought waiver that would allow California to impose its own, stricter tailpipe emissions standards for cars.

The waiver, pursued under the Clean Air Act, had been denied by the Bush administration, and California hopes that among the first acts of Lisa Jackson, the as-yet-unconfirmed nominee for head of the Environmental Protection Agency, would be to issue the waiver. (UPDATE 1/23 9:25am: Lisa Jackson was confirmed last night as Administrator of the EPA.)

Yes, just what Detroit needs. Fifty different environmental standards. For more on this, the National Automobile Dealers Association has put together a report on why this is an idiotic idea. An excerpt:

This effort, led by the California Air Resources Board (CARB):    

Creates a Patchwork – CARB’s regulation will result in a patchwork of state regulatory regimes, as compliance with their regulation is based on what each automaker delivers for sale in each “California” state.  What an automaker “delivers for sale” varies because consumer demand for certain vehicles differs from state to state, meaning compliance in California is no guarantee of compliance in any other state.

Exemptions – CARB’s regulation exempts until 2016 (and then regulates these now exempt automakers at a lesser standard) major global manufacturers.
Vehicle Rationing – To comply with CARB’s regulation, every automaker must sell the “right” mix of vehicles – some vehicles above the standard and some vehicles below the standard.  If consumers do not buy the right mix of vehicles, the only realistic way for an automaker to comply will be to ration sales of certain models, or deeply discount other models.  Both options distort the market and hurt dealers. 

Cross-Border Sales Loophole – Because of vehicle rationing, consumers will go to other states to purchase vehicles unavailable in their state.  Except in Rhode Island, vehicles bought in one state and registered in another are unregulated under CARB’s regulation.  This loophole is non-existent under CAFE.


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