Last week California’s Air Resources Board (ARB) called on automakers to build cars and trucks that will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent within the next 12 years. As a state that is by itself the sixth-largest economy in the world, California plays a vital regulatory role in efforts to reduce pollution. The decision by the Air Resources Board ups the ante against global warming, as automakers will most likely comply with the new regulations on all vehicles intended for sale in the U.S.
Specifically, the new regulations call for automakers to cut exhaust from new cars and small trucks by 25 percent and from larger trucks and SUVs by 18 percent. The cleaner technologies must debut by the 2009 model year, with full implementation slated for 2016.
The auto industry vigorously opposes the new regulations, claiming that the state board does not have the authority to enact such sweeping changes and that current technologies cannot meet the new standards. The ARB estimates the costs associated with the new regulations will add up to about $1,000 per new vehicle, but it argues that buyers of new cars after 2009 will recover that price premium through lower operating costs over the vehicles’ lifetimes. Industry representatives have kicked off litigation efforts to overturn the new standards.