• May 14, 2008

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]



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  • 17 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      imagine if we could have world wide emissions standards! i mean really...why is CO2 more important in one area and NO2 more important in another?! doesnt make sense. think of he cost savings of developing ONE engine for thew hole world with little to no changes. if the world can agree on other standards i dont see why this couldnt work.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ...World...Agreeing? LOL

        Nah, I rather live in a world where people disagree and have different ideas than the best environment in the universe
        • 6 Years Ago
        That would make sense. But it won't happen as long as eco-terrorist, pseudo-environmentalist idiots are running the state of California.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Or they could build for CA states and the remaining states get the same vehicles. :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      @ SimbaDogg and MasterCKO - You guys have a lot of what I had in mind.

      Basically the way I see it, CA and all the other states on CARB standards are just way too large a market for the auto manufacturers to stop selling cars there. Short of collusion (making them liable under anti-trust laws), there are just too many car companies for any one to decide to stop selling. If Toyota pulls out of the CARB states, the remaining players will just sell more cars.

      Personally I am a big fan of performance cars. I'm definitely not much of a slow economical car person (my last car got 17mpg). However, I am with CARB on the emissions issue. Without legislation any company will always build the cheapest product possible leaving out all unnecessary items - in the case of cars that would mean emissions related technology.

      Additionally, to those that say this will kill performance cars - if there is a market, companies will always build muscle cars and other product with big engines. Basically, I am a firm believer that if the market demands, manufacturers will supply. Even after the 79 oil crisis big 'ol gas guzzling supercars were still being made. Before the critics say, "See...only the rich could afford the gas guzzlers! Well the reason no affordable gas guzzlers were sold was because the commonfolk couldn't afford gas (not the cars). Hence there wasn't a demand". At worst CARB regulations will drive up the price of the cars by a bit, but by then if you can afford the gas bills you shouldn't have any trouble forking over a few thousand more on the car.

      Just my 2c.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Texas buys its schoolbooks not by district or county, but by the entire state. The 5th grade math book, for example, is used by every 5th-grader in the state. That's a tremendous market, and textbook writers/publishers tailor their books to the whims and desires of the Texas school board (or whatever it's called). That's significant because hte books your kids read are determined by what they're reading in Texas.

      That's what can happen when California's emissions standards are accepted by enough states. You'll have California standards or none at all. For the time being, we have "45-state" cars, and the diesel you can't get in California you also can't buy in New York. Fortunately for everyone else, there's still enough market in the rest of the country for more reasonable standards for manufacturers to design for.

      But when more states go over to the dark side...
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's 42-state right now (soon to be 41), as there are 8 CARB states.

        And there's no difference between California/CARB Diesel fuel and other states Diesel fuel. The only difference California had on Diesel fuel is that when ultra-low sulfur Diesel rolled out, it became mandatory a year earlier in California (as the EPA delayed the roll-out in the middle) than other states. Before that rollout and now that it is complete, there is no difference.

        The same cannot be said for California gasoline. Although California faught to be exempted from the stupid oxygenated gas mandate from the EPA and won at least a temporary stay.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The never ending stories of Autoblog articles on CARB. Blah Blah Blah
        • 6 Years Ago
        They may be boring, but if you're an American and you drive you'd do well to pay attention. The head cases running CARB are, to one extent or another (even if you live outside of CA), dictating what you can and cannot buy to you. And that's not right.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Just like Californians do not care about what happens outside of California I could care less if they choke on their emissions. Maybe if you took the spraypaint cans off the shelf that could help. You would know what I mean if you have driven through L.A.

      Also, soon we'll see post after post of how California is the 6th largest economy in the world but neglect the fact that most of its money comes from tourism by the "poor, stupid" people from elsewhere in the U.S.

      At the same time I don't see why the automakers and The Terminator just meet halfway. Both are shooting high and if they could both look past the end of their noses you could use that halfway point as the national standard.

      Sorry for the rant but just trying to cover the bases before we get 50 posts about their economy and how great everything is there.
        • 6 Years Ago
        your third paragraph raises a pretty good point and it has merit. All the offhanded bashing of CA detracts from your argument, tho. This has nothing to do with the size of the economy.

        I've made this argument before and I'm going to make it again. Why can't any of you "Commiefornia" armchair critics understand that CA does what it does specifically BECAUSE things aren't great in CA? We have a higher population that every other state. We have more density in our cities than most every other city. The one with the most people/density (LA) in fact, is surrounded by a natural environment that is very non-conducive to having a large population in that it significantly magnifies the effects of waste put out by said large population.

        We are dealing FIRST-HAND with the problems that rest of the world let alone the country will deal with in 20-50 years if we keep going the way we as a people and a race are going.

        To imply (well, not imply so much as state) that Californians don't care about what happens in the rest of the world is, imo, misguided and intellectually dishonest.

        More immediately, the rest of the country does end up getting affected by CA's rulings and such frankly because CA is a major part of the country. Neither side of this argument can argue that point. There is also nothing you can do about that fact. Statements like "I wish CA would fall off into the Pacific" and such nonsense make those of you who write such quick-witted responses sound like petulant children.

        All that said, again, I think that Tagg has a good point in his third paragraph. Working together is always a better option than beating our respective chests at each other.
      • 6 Years Ago
      @ John
      i really dont understand why you're highly ranked. Cuz honestly, thats a very stupid and narrow minded way of thinking. By your same reasoning, i guess its CARBs fault that we have catalytic converters. Have you ever smelled a car that is running w/out a cat? I'm not talking about a racecar either, just a normal everyday taurus, civic, accord camry etc...Its honestly disgusting. Its people like you that whine about new standards that are put in place to better society and EVERYONE because its against all the basic ideas of capitalism and the freemarket. If there wasn't any type of CAFE in the US, what do you think a lot of these car manufacturers would be putting out as far as their mpg averages. Honda would probably be one of the few that would still be where they're at, but Ford, GM, Toyota and others would be pumping out gas guzzling cars until the lots were actually sitting with 100 day supplies of oversized SUVs and trucks. Toyota dealers are even turning away shipments of sequoias and full size tundras because no one can afford to fill them up anymore.

      I dont know if you even live in California, but i do, southern california at that. and even though its not as dirty as the air in china over here, it sucks not being able to go for a damn run outside during the summer because the smog index is so high. seriously think about how bad that is...thats ridiculous.

      but i'm all for CARB sticking to their guns and forcing auto makers to cut down on growing size of suvs and trucks, the mid size sedans that are now full size, and then the full size sedans that are now boats. sure it will cost money to develop tech to make engines burn cleaner and more efficiently, and more tech to find new cheaper lighter materials, but honestly...any company thats dumb enough to design a new engine/drivetrain for cali and not pass on the better mpg to other countries/regions is beyond retarded. can anyone name any region in the world (other than saudis, brazil, and other big oil/ethanol producers) dont care about what kind of mpg they get?

      @MasterCKO
      thank you for say everything i wanted to say before i got all worked up. this is probably one of the longest posts i've ever made on any of the webblog networks.
      Considering that auto manufacturers sell a HUGE chunk of their business in CA alone (worst public transport system in the world, not literally...but it stinks), i think californians def have a right to feel a little bent outta shape w/ the smog issue. because there are so many metro areas in the state that sit like concrete islands that just hold in smog (some areas surrounded by mountains, others sit inside of basins).
      • 6 Years Ago
      What I think is the manufacturers should say screw it and just make their engines meet or exceed the strictest requirements in the world. That way, they don't have to develop a new version every time they push into a new market.

      Easier to build one version for the CARB states than two versions for both, same as it would be easier to build one for non-CARB states.
      • 6 Years Ago
      California should not dictate the fuel economy and emissions policy for the entire U.S.

      The state standards exception to the Clean Air Act should be repealed immediately.

      Moreover while a "one world" uniform standard is too "World Government" for some of us who value American sovereignty, a sensible approach to regulation would be recognize vehicles certified to EU, Australian and/or Japanese emission and safety standards as acceptable for importation and sale (including grey market) in all fifty states of the U.S.A. under an "Emissions and Safety Free Trade Agreement."

      Under such a regulatory scheme, CARB couldn't deprive the rest of the US from the wide array of highly efficient turbo diesels available in Europe. Nor would dealers or consumers be prevented from obtaining fuel efficient JDM turbo cars or RWD Australian V8s.

      Furthermore, the beauty of the alternative standards/Free Trade approach is that if one of the other countries ratcheted up standards too high, the U.S. standard would not be tied to it. It would also permit Detroit to engineer its vehicles to the most cost-effective generally accepted safety and emission standards.
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