Calif. Adopts Auto Emissions Cuts: The Debate is On

Last week, California air-quality regulators adopted the nation's first-ever rules to reduce car emissions linked to global warming. This week, the debate between the Calif. Air Resources Board and auto manufacturers rages on. We're hoping the new legislation will also prompt auto manufacturers to pump out more hybrid cars (after they challenge the new standards in court, of course), which will mean a shorter wait time for those sexy hybrid Priuses and Ford Escapes that intelligent consumers are already craving. :: California Air Resources BoardThe new rules will require auto makers to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases in cars and trucks by as much as 25 percent beginning with 2009 models and by 34 percent by 2016. The legislation will likely prompt tougher pollution standards in other states, including Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut, which already abide by California's stringent laws. Gov. Pataki has already said that New York will follow suit. But car companies are whining about their costs going up and are saying those costs will passed on to consumers. They also claim that what California is really trying to do is regulate fuel econmoy, which only the federal government can do. Cutting emissions in Cali alone really wouldn't amount to much, but if other states join on board, then they'd rally be on to something. That's what the car companies are worried about...California, incidentally, is the only state allowed to set its own emissions laws. The remainder of the country must choose between federal standards or California laws.