Depending on your viewpoint, California is trying to make the world better for people everywhere, or trying to kill all the joy of automobiles and perhaps the entire domestic auto industry. In 2004, California adopted a requirement declaring that automakers reduce their fleets' CO2 emissions from September 2008, which would begin the 2009 model year. The first year's cut would be 1-2%, culminating in 2016 with a 24-36% reduction from the amount of 2002 CO2 levels. Eleven states have followed California's lead, but in order for the requirement to go into effect, California has to be granted a waiver for federal permission from the EPA.

The state of Vermont, which adopted California's stance, was sued last month by GM and a collection of auto industry partners. A verdict is still awaited. In that trial, it was said that in order to achieve that CO2 reduction, average mpg would need to be 43.1 in 2016. The cost to automakers would be billions upon billions. Chrysler has said it could only sell Smarts in states with the measure. GM said it could stop selling cars entirely in those states. There's howling on all sides, and it appears every side will not rest until it gains complete victory. Senators, meanwhile, are busy trying to protect their constituents and assuage voters with their own alternatives.

In 40 years, the EPA has never declined a waiver. If it approves California's request, six or so additional states are expected to adopt the same measures.

[Source: Detroit News]

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