Welcome, President Obama. The Governator and the California Air Resources Board would like you to immediately allow California, and its toady hangers-on like Massachusetts, to set their own emissions standards.

The Bush Administration denied the waiver that would have allowed CARB to set a goal of a 30 percent reduction in tailpipe emissions by 2016, along with requiring an average of 43.7 miles per gallon for cars and 26.6 for trucks by the same year. Now that there's a new administration winding up, the move is on once again to push the waiver through. Lisa Jackson, nominee for EPA administrator, has promised to aggressively review the 2007 decision should she be confirmed.

Automakers argue that the measure would force them to sell vastly different configurations for different states to meet those varied standards. While the "easy" (if cost-intensive) solution may be to make all models meet California emissions, the bigger issue is the mileage requirement. There's already a tough new Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard coming up which is likely to be a challenge to meet in the allotted time, let alone containing what it will cost without sending MSRPs skyward.

While environmental responsibility is admirable and serious measures should be attempted, critics of the plan argue that cranking up a CAFE number willy-nilly equates to an unfunded mandate and misdirects efforts at brand-new vehicles – instead of spreading the word about how environmentally and economically friendly it is to keep an old car going in a good state of tune.

[Source: Detroit News]