• Jun 5, 2007

Just you watch, before it's all through, the automotive/greenhouse gas/environmental legislation and counter-legislation moving through Congress right now is not going to be decided by vote, but by a cage match. First, the Supreme Court ruled the EPA had the power to regulate emissions. California decided to show the EPA how to do that, and declared what kind of gas mileage cars sold in the state had to get -- but it has to get a waiver from the EPA to actually follow through on it. Vermont did the same, and got sued by the automakers. The Senate thought it might calm everyone down by setting new CAFE standards to take effect in 2020, in a bill that is supposed to be decided this week or next. Automakers then came back with another Senate measure that would stall the first one. Got it so far?

Now, Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) has put together a "discussion draft" as part of comprehensive environmental legislation to be written by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It states that the EPA would set the requirements for C02 emissions, and "would be the exclusive regulatory regime for governing new motor vehicle emissions of greenhouse gases." That would mean that the EPA is the final decider of what's going to happen nationwide as far as vehicle emissions are concerned. So California and its fellow states trying to decide what they want ... can sit back down and wait for the EPA to tell the country what it's going to get. Furthermore, in such case, the EPA can't grant waivers to states that wish to enforce their own limits.

Of course, it only gets more exciting after that, with charges of shady dealing, skulduggery and promises of fights to come over states' rights. Remember, when the Senate's CAFE bill was first mooted, the Democrats said they expected it to pass. We wonder if they're still so sure. And with this kind of action, who needs telenovelas?

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]



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  • 15 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      FINALLY! It's about time that someone put corrupt California in its place. I think we reached our limit when California's new passenger car-only diesel engine rules were matched months later by an announcement that Honda had the perfect low emissions engine. ORLY? What a coincidence.

      I'm tired of California's dysfunctional imperial system making decisions for the sane part of America on the basis of whichever foreigner pays them the most. This better pass.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Peter,

      I think you have some good ideas, but if government is corrupt and in bed with the 'big evil MNCs', then no form of federal regulation will change that, in fact it will only INCREASE the possibility of giving more power to the wrong places. Now i don't think States are any better in their delegation and doling than the federal is, but atleast there the little states with two senators and four congressmen will not be over run by california, NY, MA, etc...

      Giving Teeth to the EPA will not solve anything, it will just give a lobbied-up Senator more power to impose what his lobby is looking for.

      The fact that industry has control of what happens in America is healthy, and here is why. Not so that they can abuse the power and create legislative changes that will benefit them, but actually because a strong market-driven economy means the consumer has more say. They get to vote with their dollars. It's very hard for any company to alter political landscapes with out the consumer's money. if we don't agree with large gas-hogs then we the public need to stop buying them... If we the public don't think Twinkies should be made anymore, then we the public should stop buying them... Its not the government's job to hold the consumer's hand and make sure we make wise decisions, because that leads down a slippery slope that eventually has them telling us where and how we get to have and raise our family, look at China for an example.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Does anyone else think that now would be a good time to invest in car dealerships in Arizona, Nevada and Orgeon?
      • 7 Years Ago
      California should just ban all passenger vehicles. That'll save the planet from global warming and also solve the obesity issue in one go. If people need to get around, the State should make available those bicycle-powered carriages. That should provide enough jobs for the undocumented workers loitering in front of Home Depots.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I work in the emission industry. California standards make life hell on everyone. If they really wanted to control who sell waht vehicles in their state, they could just make vehicle registrations reflect fuel consumption. Would suit their socialist ways just fine. If it suddenly costs a thousand dollars more to register a 300C than a sebring, it would take care of itself. Let the market decide. If I still want to pay to pour gas through a huge motor, thats my right as an american.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I may not be putting it in words as well as I should, but therein lies a point of our difference. With control over government, some MNCs are able to influence (poorly) what regulations are allowed and what are not. If you are arguing that the government should stay out of the way of production, emissions, and regulating all together- that is where I am saying its too late for that, they already do. But to do it under the guise of a toothless agency like the EPA is meaningless. If they are serious about CAFE standards, clean air and clean water, then 'they' - our representatives in congress, need to stand up to big industry. We already have rules on the books for just these reasons, so that MNCs can't just produce, pollute, and not have to clean up their mess. If we back off from more regulation, or take the serious consequences out of the current regulations, what is to stop more destruction w/o clean up? From mine tailings and huge pools of wastewater, to dumped toxins, to acid rain, to sulfur emissions, we are already deep into some form of industry control. To take that away now would be more destructive then good.

      I agree with you in some ways that a strong market-driven economy gives companies more ability and power to face the needs of the consumer, which is the reason they are in business in the first place, and w/o the customer they will have to adapt or die.

      But "control of what happens in America " is way too strong a statement to say this is a good thing to those companies who would damage the environment to no end and not have to pay the consequences.

      Because we have something called CAFE standards, because we have limits on sulfur emmisions, we already recoginize these issues as problems, so we are already regulating them today. We can't step back from these and other controls to safegaurd both the public and the environemt, as a matter of fact some of the data show we need to further regulate where industry is not doing enough of it on their own.

      Have you google earth-ed recently? Do you know the mines in WV are so large that then can been seen from space? The break up of Greenland glaciers and missing MT tops of snow and ice are also visible from many miles up? The same scientist who said 10 years ago that this was the inevitable consequence of our ways were laughed at and called alarmists, and yet here we are today with all of these things occurring as predicted, and STILL MNCs are trying to stop congress from exerting some kind of environmental control on them.

      No my friend, industry control of what happens in the US is not always a good thing. Having say and having control are 2 very different things.

      Buying gas guzzling cars and trucks is the right of the consumer, and I am not saying we should limit that or any other thing like drink, smoking or personal vice. That is for each of us to decide what is right and what we want, but where there has to be control then lets at least make it both effective as well as up to date with the latest data on why we started controlling those elements in the first place, or else it is all for nothing but grandstanding.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Automobile emissions should not be regulated state-by-state (and neither should gasoline blends). The very nature of automobiles and pollution is interstate, thus clearly under the federal legislative umbrella. The danger is that when states decide to regulate commerce in different ways, it often increases the cost of business and creates barriers to trade. The founders of the United States gave the federal government the power to regulate interstate commerce to prevent states from becoming their own little fiefdoms -- which is what California is becoming with this environmental push. I doubt that with this Supreme Court, even if CA gets an EPA waiver, that a high emissions standard would survive a constitutional challenge. States do have the power to protect its environment, but that interest must be weighed against the heavy interstate commerce interest.

      A plausibly-more constitutional approach for California would be to increase its state taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel -- thus encouraging people to buy more fuel efficient vehicles (and increasing revenue for the state treasury).

      Yet, this whole thing seems more political, rather than pragmatic.
      • 7 Years Ago
      No Federal Mandates! No Federal Emissions requirements, No Federal Marriage Laws, No Federal Health Care, Federal control should be limited to foreign policy, interstate legislation to protect business transactions, and the treasury... I am fine with however a state will decide it wants its laws regarding pollution and emissions, but I do not need life-long bureaucrats, with more than likely no experience in the field apart from 'AP/Quinipiac Public Opinion Polls,' deciding that '40 sounds like a number that makes the kooks in my party happy...' or the opposite of 'The lobbyists will love that I negotiated this down to 23'...

      Its already bad enough that they snuck in a 'make cars more efficient' deal when they started recalculating EPA ratings without altering laws to reflect the new lower numbers...
        • 7 Years Ago
        It is a matter of CHOICE !

        However from an automotive point of view, OUR choices from Detroit are limited a BIG vehicle that gets between 15 and 24 mpg or a smaller vehicle that gets 19 to 28 mpg, or there is the 4 cycinder that gets 19 to 28 versus a 6/8 cylinder at 12 to 25 mpg. The average of the "19 best high mpg Detroit" vehicles yields a combined city/highway of 25.9 mpg(US) ... IF Honda Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, and Toyota are excluded. In fact not one of the "best" 19 is even rated 30 mpg combined or better using 2008 methodology. So again, the choice in fuel economy is poor and worse.

        The only 2 vehicles in the US differentiated based on mpg are the Prius and CIVIC Hybrids at 42 mpg and above. So THERE IS NO CHOICE FROM DETROIT !

        Oh ... we have flex fuel ethanol which gets 20-25% lower mpg ... we have that choice ... but some have suggesed that ethanol emissions may be bad for US too (I don't know BUT sure would like to).

        Comments about worldwide auto markets are interesting, particulary since Detroit "chooses" to double the design and development expenses (and possibly capitol costs) by establishing UNIQUE design strictly for the USA. If you think I am kidding look up FORD or GM's Vauxhall/Opell vehicles in EU that are rated between 54 and 70 mpg(Imperial) combined [45 to 58 mpg(US)].
        see: http://www.vcacarfueldata.org.uk/search/

        If there were MORE REAL DIFFERENTIATED CHOICES just maybe more of US would move in that direction.

        That is why I am advocating:

        "44 mpg(US) by 2010"

        " ... not for ALL ... not for CAFE ..."

        "JUST MORE CHOICES for those THAT WANT better than 44 mpg ... waive ALL import restrictions (for 24 months - including diesels) ... That is the only way"!

        Get GOVERNMENT out of the way ... since Det3 management is following its' preplanned "downsizing and outsourcing" strategy ... these imports will not effect employment one way or another.

        • 7 Years Ago
        Your comments: screw that. Just what america needs, another concentration of
        power in
        washington that will be beholden to industry that doesnt give a rat's
        ass about breathable air. Say what you want about california but it
        has historically placed peoples lungs over some fat detroit
        businessman's wallet.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Apparently, the comments have representation from buffoons and the auto industry, because I can't think of any sane person who doesn't think that the auto industry shouldn't be producing more fuel efficient cars when gas prices are currently sky-high and we're being held hostage by oil-producing Middle Eastern countries that want us all dead. Would it kill the Feds to have done something about this 10 years ago so that states didn't feel compelled to do it by themselves? Inaction by our federal government has put us in this mess, the healthcare mess, and the immigration mess, and then we blame the states. Wow... that's intelligent.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Or Chris, the comments come from people that believe the public should be able to think for itself... If you are fool buying a large SUV, YOU ARE the fool BUYING the SUV... If you bought a fuel efficient vehicle and feel that MPG and Emissions is a concern, so be it... The manufactures only build what the market asks for, hence the disappearance of the station wagon (now its all crossovers)... I myself have a fuel efficient daily driver and a 'gas guzzler' for my personal enjoyment... I don't think its up to the Federal Government to be up on future world finances so that it can alter the products of manufacturers here at home...

        The only thing worse for the consumer than a monopoly is a monopoly consisting of bureaucrats...
          • 7 Years Ago
          Peter, are you disagreeing with me? Because i think Big Government is bad and you then chide me to say that big government is bad? I don't trust any politician who is willing to say "This is whats best for you..." because it's not, it's what's best for them... Federal mandates on items involved in my personal life, i.e. smoking, eating, drinking, driving, living, walking, marrying, etc. etc. are never good for the public because they just allow lobbyists or bureaucrats more aspects of control of our lives and choices... I am firmly conservative in my belief of how government should operate, and these days its becoming closer and closer to Libertarian...
          • 7 Years Ago
          Excuse me?? "monopoly consisting of bureaucrats...
          " is what we already have - The federal government is constantly giving millions in subsidies to an industry who's profits are at an all time high, net profits that is. They are making more billions then ever before, so why they hell are we interfering with industry at all, let the oil companies survive on mere single digit billions in profits, stop adding our tax dollars to their coffers so they can lobby for more tax dollars!

          Who do you think right now is arguing for billions in subsidies for the coal industry, who is currently giving no bid billion dollar contracts to privately held oil companies?

          Politicians

          Who right now is fighting giving new subsidies to solar, wind, and other start up energy industries??

          Politicians

          Open you eyes before your mouth... This democracy is only as good as the representative your money can buy. The more you have in the bank, the more you can get done in DC.
          • 7 Years Ago
          Ohh Please Joe...
          The people did not WANT SUV's, we have been SOLD SUV's. It is called MARKETING.
          And your are called FOOLISH!!
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