After protests by California auto dealers, the head of California's Air Resources Board (CARB) said she is willing to discuss modifying one aspect of the state's stringent emission regulations. Mary Nichols, CARB Chairwoman, told reporters at an SAE Government/Industry meeting that she is open to "regional" standards for tailpipe emissions, rather than the current standards that create state-by-state standards.

As it stands now, automakers need to cut tailpipe emissions 30 percent by 2016, per regulations established by California in 2002. With 13 states adopting those same requirements and more in the process, a patchwork of regulations is emerging nationwide. Automakers, and auto dealers, have argued that such a trend could force some brands to stop selling vehicles altogether in places like California, because it's too cost prohibitive to build different versions of the same car to meet a multitude of standards. Some also speculate that consumers would just go buy larger vehicles in neighboring states with less stringent regulations. A regional approach to emission regulations might protect auto dealers from watching their business walking out of the state, but we're certain that the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers that represents most major carmakers in the U.S. will continue arguing for California's standards to be disregarded in favor of the more stringent national standards set forth in our nation's new energy bill.

[Source: Detroit News]