Massachusetts Agrees to Force Automakers to Limit Emissions

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney announced last week that the Commonwealth has joined a bloc of seven other U.S. states in attempts to force automakers to produce cars and trucks with less of the emissions that are exacerbating global warming and other pollution-related environmental ills. California moved first by proposing the stricter standards last year, but the automakers have challenged the constitutionality of that statewide initiative in the courts.


’‘We chose to continue to be consistent with what California is doing since they are one of the biggest auto-ownership states,” Massachusetts’ Secretary of Environmental Affairs Stephen R. Pritchard told reporters. ‘‘We’re continuing to push the technology limits, if you will, for low-emission vehicle regulations.”

If California gets its way, Massachusetts and the six other states committed to emissions reduction will enact corresponding legislation. State leaders contend that as a bloc they can make a significant dent in emissions nationwide. They are proposing to start phasing the new requirements in by 2009.

Meanwhile, automakers argue that states should not be allowed to regulate fuel economy without the approval of federal lawmakers. And they warn that implementing the stricter emissions standards will add thousands of dollars to the cost of every new vehicle for consumers while having a minimal impact on greenhouse gas emissions.