• May 29, 2009
Even though President Obama's new national CAFE standards will lean on the stricter California standards for support and there was broad agreement that a national standard of this type is the way to move forward, the devilish details could still cause a disagreement or two.

Problem One is that the new CAFE rules don't start affecting new cars until the 2012 model year. Problem Two is that the whole EPA waiver thing hasn't been decided. While California will back down once the 2012 models are here, that state has announced that it still wants to be able to regulate tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions between now and then. The New York Times' Jim Motavalli explains that California doesn't see its rules for the next few years being all that tough for automakers to comply with using existing technology. The battle lines are still drawn, but they're getting a bit scuffed up.

[Source: The New York Times | Image: Mel. B under C.C. 2.0)


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  • 40 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      CARB -- they agree on a deal for one national standard, and then promptly welsh on the deal. That said, there's nothing wrong with CARB that can't be fixed with tar, feathers, and a rail.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Maybe you don't agree about the effects of CO2, I understand that. But if if you don't, it doesn't mean California hasn't explained their reasoning."

        *do not* put words in my mouth. I didn't say a goddamn thing about the effects of CO2. All I am saying is that in the timeline they are speaking of (now until MY2012) the difference in CO2 emitted from *new* vehicles sold won't amount to even a blip overall. Certainly not enough to justify saddling the automakers with multiple standards to maintain.

        Besides, why aren't they raising the f***ing gas tax? That's a sure-fire way to, you know, actually *influence* what kind of cars people buy rather than the boneheaded CAFE junk. Hell, it might even help out their budget issues.

        I await your next knee-jerk defense.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They are in on the deal, but the deal doesn't begin until 2012. They'd like to continue on their own until the deal starts.
        • 5 Years Ago
        California already explained why. They see CO2 as dangerous and thus wish to reduce CO2 emissions. Given that California is a state, they would regulate CO2 within the state. You can't fix the entire CO2 problem by just fixing one state, but you have to start somewhere and you sure can't fix it by not doing anything at all.

        Maybe you don't agree about the effects of CO2, I understand that. But if if you don't, it doesn't mean California hasn't explained their reasoning.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You need to research the words "maybe" and "if". No one is putting words into your mouth.

        Again, if you would like you can disagree with California's argument, but you cannot say California did not state the reasons.

        As to the gas tax, maybe that will happen. It's politically difficult in California, like elsewhere. But it's also outside CARB's domain, especially since CARB is forbidden from regulating CO2 at all (which is the whole point of this entire article).
      • 5 Years Ago
      What is the point of these emission standards when nobody is buying new cars ?
      • 5 Years Ago
      They can all switch to bicycles for all I care.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I really think that's the easiest solution for California, lol
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just a thought - how will CARB justify its existence if Federal regs keep up with it.

      Functionally, CARB will ALWAYS have to seek exemptions from Federal regs if it is to justify its existence. Hence I get the feeling Obama's CAFE boost will only be valid for 4 years - 2012-2016.

      Of course, CARB will have to deal with a new Administration by then, because unless the Constitution is amended, Obama will be out of office.
        • 5 Years Ago
        CARB doesn't regulate CO2 and has existed for 30 years not doing so. The new federal regulations only address mpg (CO2). Furthermore CARB covers a lot more than just cars or even vehicles.

        CARB doesn't need exemptions to continue to regulate trace emissions, it already is written into Federal law.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ why not:

        "CARB doesn't regulate CO2 and has existed for 30 years not doing so. The new federal regulations only address mpg (CO2). Furthermore CARB covers a lot more than just cars or even vehicles."

        Last I checked, the EPA was to rule on a waiver for California to regulate CO2 in cars. And this proposal is set to do just that. So my point is, CARB as a regulatory bureaucracy must expand or die.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Another day... another object lesson.

      control freak big-government types are always dissatisfied, almost certainly angry, and NOTHING is good enough to satiate them.

      Moral of the story...

      Forget them. Stop trying to appease those who have unrealistic expectations, and won't be satisfied even if others try to meet them. Do what is actually right, and tell the lefty control freaks to sod off, and jog on.

      That is essentially what the recent CA voter referendums have told them... yet they continue not to get the hint, on all sorts of levels.

      If they aren't going to be satisfied, then they may as well be dissatisfied with common sense, rather than being dissatisfied while still getting permission to walk all over everyone else.

      Perhaps if that happened, or were to happen now, California wouldn't be dead frakkin' broke.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You mean the one that approved the high speed rail project? How about $10B for stem cell research?

        The referendums don't indicate that people don't want the state to do things. They simply indicate they don't want to pay for them!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I thought of a great idea to solve California's budget woes.

      California is serious financial distress, with huge cuts in education, and Arnold proposing to shut down state parks. I have a better idea: why not just get rid of CARB entirely? It was created in the first place because California thought the federal standard didn't go far enough. It seems plenty far now, which makes the existence of CARB seem entirely pointless. Save money, get rid of bureaucracy, make it easier for automakers to plan their cars. Win win.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Aki:
        Your argument is now that CARB is regulating the wrong things? This is not the same as "CARB is not needed".

        I agree that emissions of older cars is a huge problem. CARB knows this too. But it is politically difficult to tell people they cannot keep a car they already own. You think people on here have hatred toward CARB now, imagine if they tried that...
        • 5 Years Ago
        There's only one flaw in your argument:
        You're wrong. Despite CARB's stricter regs, California still has dirty air due to having lots of cars and frequent thermocline inversions. Removing CARB will only make this worse.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think California's biggest problem is the lack of rust and the extend period of time a polluting car can stay on the road.

        I say, let California set stricter requirements until 2012. I hope auto companies decide to not sell product there; as the economy improves and people in states more reasonable buy new cars, their used 50-state legal cars can be shipped to California (grandfathered in) at a premium price.

        Everybody wins, except if you live in California AND want a new car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        why not the LS2LS7?
        The flaw in your argument is that newer cars in the past couple years are OBD-II compliant and aren't the giant environmental menace as say cars for 10-20 years ago. Since CARB doesn't retroactively force older polluting cars to become like a ULEV car, then CARB doesn't address the biggest automotive pollutants to begin with.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm thankful I live in California but this kind of bureaucratic thinking is ridiculous.

      The Federal standards are plenty strict and all CARB will do is cost manufactures money they do not have (nice timing). The 'stricter' standards will have little (if any) benefit.

      I hope someone comes to their senses and quick.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They only would have to change the mix of cars sold, not redesign cars.

        You are fluidly moving from one argument to another. You extend an argument that it will have no benefit by instead switching to "well, it'll be tough to do".
        • 5 Years Ago
        Right, because with vehicle development on the 2010s already done (plant conversions start in about 45 days for those that haven't debuted since Jan 1...the tooling is already ordered), and the 2011s are basically at the finishing touches stages (and will begin debuting in 7 months), the automakers will REALLY have enough time to change the fuel economy of their vehicles to reach California's unique regulations (whatever they are) for 2010 and '11.

        So either California's unique interim regs will be so negligibly different as to have no effect, or they'll be so different that no manufacturer will be able to change their products to meet them in time.

        I think this is just a desperate ploy by a sinking state to scare up last-minute revenue from the fines they'll get from the OEMs for not hitting whatever levels they plan to stipulate.
      • 5 Years Ago
      A couple of points on the CARB regulators:

      1) They are professional regulators. This is a lifelong career for most. The core competency is to make new rules.
      2) Since numbers are infinite, regulators will never run out of newer regs to make, regardless of the need or practicality. Thats how we got actual rules named Super Ultra Low blah blah blah. Next will Super Duper Ultra Low....etc. .,never mind the actual expense and marginal, unmeasurable benefits.
      3) Most of the CARB members, including the technical advisory board are not technically literate. One CARB member has trouble, no kidding, understanding that power is not energy. Another proudly declared he drove a 1981 diesel rabbit, as if this was a good thing, yet is all by itself dirtier than an entire dealership inventory of Hummers. On the whole, CARB is a band of politicians. In this way CARB is distinguished from the federal regulators at EPA or NHTSA, who are a more balanced bunch.

      A Bankrupt California will need a viability plan in order to get federal bailout support. An acceptable plan will not include the expense of the expensive, redundant CARB regulatory agency.

      • 5 Years Ago
      First, California is, in itself, the world's seventh largest economy. Larger than Spain. Saying that auto companies won't sell cars there because their regulations are different is just plain inaccurate.

      Second, isn't it odd that the official Republican platform is all about States' rights... but not here? Why can't they set their emissions standards wherever they want to? If Detroit doesn't want to create cars that can be sold there, then they'll buy more imports. Whatever. Isn't that the whole point about a free market?

      The Big 3 (big 1?) seem to have convinced people that its their god-given right to make more convenient products, and that, somehow, other governments should be forced to embrace them. Take a minute and think about that. I mean, WTF?
        • 5 Years Ago
        And for a lot of reasons, that may be a stupid decision by the State of California. That doesn't necessarily mean that the US Federal Government gets to overturn it. By letting stupid decisions hurt, people make fewer of them.

        And, for the record, I'm all for better overall quality and am pretty much a straight liberal voter. I just don't see any legal, legitimate reason for the feds to step into this issue.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I also support a gas tax because that will have a more immediate effect (not to mention it will be people choosing whatever car they want to drive as long as they are willing to pay for it).
      • 5 Years Ago
      So glad I left the Republik Of Kalifornia.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Folks, lets not bs here. It's fine to want our fleet of cars to be more efficient, but the idea that the is, or ever was, "broad agreement" that a national agreement of this type was the best way to go is quite simply B&*#$@#T. Ask any, and I do mean any, reputable economist and they will tell you that CAFE standards are far from the best way to go about this. If you want to know why:

      http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/51xx/doc5159/03-09-CAFEbrief.pdf

      http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2007/0906business_crandall.aspx

      http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/06/the_taxfree_lunch.html

      As you can see, this is not a Republican vs. Democrat issue. I've given you examples of Repulicans(Krauthammer) and Democrats(Brookings Institute) that tell you a gas tax is much more efficient. Further, reputable institutions, such as the CBO among many others, have done research that backs this up. I don't want to beat a dead horse and I could give you many more links, but the basic point is:

      Raising gasoline tax >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Raising mileage standards

        • 5 Years Ago
        The gas tax is a better approach, unfortunately, NHTSA will never get rid of CAFE. That is equivalent to them admitting they are wrong, which is something they will never do.
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