Auto industry opinions on California CO2 rules not unanimous

Most executives in the auto industry speak with one voice when it comes to California's efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks and it's not a positive tone. Carmakers don't like having a patchwork of regulations to meet because that can result in rules that are at cross purposes.

Some people in the car business are in favor of the new rules and spoke to a hearing held by the EPA in Arlington Virginia. A Maine car dealer told the hearing the carmakers needed to be pushed to improve mileage and reduce emissions. Similarly Joseph Kubsh of the Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association was in favor of the waiver for California at least in part because it would benefit the members of his group. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and National Automobile Dealers Association are the main lobbying groups for the carmakers and dealers and, as expected, they oppose the waiver that would allow California to implement their new rules.

The fundamental difference between the latest California rules and previous emission standards is that any limit on greenhouse gases is a de facto fuel economy standard. Since CO2 emissions are directly related to the amount of fuel burned this rule would allow California to control fuel consumption which until now has been the responsibility of the EPA. While the official stance of the carmakers is generally opposed to new rules, internally not everyone agrees with that stance.

As Jeremy said in his article, if more people make their voices heard maybe the carmakers will listen. However, the one surefire way to make them listen to speak with your car payments. The only reason carmakers don't like the rules is because people keep buying big low mileage vehicles more frequently than the other way around. The car companies don't care what they build as long as people buy. If people buy smaller vehicles in larger numbers they will get built regardless of the regulations.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. req'd]

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