California considering tougher emissions standards

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The emissions coming out of a tailpipe may be more heavily regulated. Image: Flickr / robadob / CC-BY-SA

In the United States, California often ends up setting de-facto emissions standards. This means new standards being debated by California, if passed, could have an effect on nationwide fuel efficiency standards.

The Advanced Clean Car program

California’s new Advanced Clean Car Program would set  regulations for ramping up clean emission standards. The new standards would introduce new regulations in phases, ending in a 34 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and 75 percent reduction of smog emissions by 2025. The regulations would also require that one out of every seven cars sold in California must be a hybrid or zero-emissions electronic vehicle. The program also sets a goal that by the year 2050, 87 percent of the state fleet of vehicles should be powered by clean technologies.

EPA to match standards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with 13 different car makers, plans on adopting the greenhouse gas emissions limits California adopts. In essence, smog standards adopted by California will become national standards.

[Hybrid vehicles with low emissions are already available at the Atlanta, GA Toyota dealer.]

This is in addition to the fuel mileage standards created by the EPA and enforced by the federal government. While this will formalize the arrangement, California standards have usually become the de-facto standards for the nation because automakers do not want to try to sell different vehicle designs in each state.

Automakers don’t put up a fight

The first time California created strong emissions standards, automakers spent millions of dollars and several years fighting the standards in court. Though the standards were eventually adopted, the court fight delayed implementation. This time around, automakers have chosen to not fight the new standards in court. This is because automakers agreed to accept new emissions standards as a condition of the politically backed bailouts of the last few years.


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