• Mar 25, 2009
In a move that will likely get California's consumers in a huff, impending legislation may soon restrict the paint color options for Golden State residents looking for their next new vehicle. The specific colors that are currently on the chopping block are all dark hues, with the worst offender seemingly the most innocuous color you could think of: Black. What could California possibly have against these colors, you ask? Apparently, the California Air Resources Board figures that the climate control systems of dark colored cars need to work harder than their lighter siblings – especially after sitting in the sun for a few hours. Anyone living in a hot, sunny climate will tell you that this assumption is accurate, of course. In fact, legislation already exists for buildings that has proven successful at reducing the energy consumption of skyscrapers.

So, what's the crux of the problem... can't paint suppliers just come up with new, less heat-absorbent dark paints? According to Ward's, suppliers have reportedly been testing their pigments and processes to see if it's possible to meet CARB's proposed mandate of 20% solar reflectivity by 2016 with a phase-in period starting in 2012, and things aren't looking good. Apparently, when the proper pigments and chemicals are added to black paint, the resulting color is currently being referred to as "mud-puddle brown." That doesn't sound very attractive, now does it? Windshields, backlights and sunroofs are also slated to get reflective coatings starting in 2012.

When we first heard of this issue, an internal debate immediately began as to whether this might be an elaborate early April Fool's joke, but it isn't. Read through CARB's complete Cool Cars Standards and Test Procedures here (PDF link) for more. Thanks for the tip, Joaquin!

[Source: CARB (PDF link); Wards | Photo: 7mary3]


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  • 177 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      To me the funniest part of the PowerPoint was the proposed requirement that "Automobile manufacturers must include statement in owner’s manual that failure to use specified paint may impact occupant’s thermal comfort"
      • 5 Years Ago
      you gotta be kidding CA.

      what if i want to own a black car and not use my A/C?

      everyone is so eager to make a law affecting someone else before they even ask themselves if they could reduce their own impact by being a little less coddled.
      • 5 Years Ago
      You can have it in any color, as long as it's not black.
        • 5 Years Ago
        you made my day!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wouldn't this reflectivity make the engine burn more gas to heat a car in winter?
      • 5 Years Ago
      neoprufrok,
      In your honor, this Saturday I'm going to have seven trees removed from my property just because I don't like them.
      Then maybe I'll find a few owls to shoot and run all my gas powered tools in the driveway for a couple hours.
      • 5 Years Ago
      CARB keeps coming up with legislation that does almost nothing to reduce emissions and places an enormous burden on auto manufacturers. Their plans don't have be viable or demonstrate any actual change, nor can we get rid of the APPOINTED board members making these horrible decisions. The decisions the board makes have far reaching implications in 12 states and no one but auto manufacturers has done anything to stop them.

      I don't live in California any longer, but people need to start paying attention to CARB. They are a power hungry monster of a department looking for national domination on air quality issues.
      • 5 Years Ago
      ...can we kick that state out of the union yet???
      • 5 Years Ago
      There may be a better solution. Have all the people in CARB get on a bus, and drive themselves off the cliff. Less carbon footprint = less greenhouse gases = preventing the polar ice caps from melting ZOMG!
      • 5 Years Ago
      California...a nice place to visit then leave.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Funny how the Bible-Belt points its finger at Cali and then takes in subsidies and welfare money coming from Californian tax money.


      Never would I live anywhere else than the West Coast (or East Coast)......the Bible-Belt gun-toting, regressive, status-quo loving, science is devil creationist fanatics can F themselves as far as I'm concerned, and keep driving their decade old rust trucks.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Read my response to Max, above.

        Another textbook case of ignorance on display, and complete and utter disrespect, from the lofty tolerant liberals. Vilification of people who have done NOTHING to you, and who you obviously have never met.

        You, sir, are an idiot, if you hold what you say to be true. Congratulations on falling prey to the divisiveness being peddled by those in power, to keep you voting for them, and handing them your liberties.

        If I could escape the end results of the tyranny your attitude produces, and let you feel it for yourself, I would encourage it to come. But unfortunately, attitudes like that enslave us all, not just you.

        There will come a time when people who believe in law and order, guided by proper morality will be in high demand and scarce supply, and you had better be praying to a just God that those people still have their guns, to come to your defense, when tyranny comes after you, when attitudes like yours bring that tyranny about.

        Today tyranny attacks your freedom to choose what products you want to buy. Tomorrow it will be something more vital. It has happened before, and it is happening again.
      • 5 Years Ago
      And the stupid just keeps on rolling...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oh man. President Obama is going to have to order up another two presidential whips painted white for visits to California. The upside of this would be that the airforce wouldn't have to fly them out.
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