California set to sue EPA next week

EPA standards govern vehicle emissions such as NOx and hydrocarbons. They are byproducts of combustion that can be balanced with engine tuning, such as ignition timing and fuel delivery. They can also be reduced through devices such as catalytic converters. Catalytic converters cause a chemical reaction that converts carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide and water. However, earlier this year the EPA won a Supreme Court ruling adding carbon dioxide to the list of regulatory greenhouse gases. The EPA is working on legislation to update its regulations due to this ruling, but there are some impatient states.
California is awaiting a waiver from the EPA so that it can put its own emissions standards into effect. Next week, California plans to file suit against the EPA to force a decision. California needs the waiver to introduce regulations reducing vehicle greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2016. Despite opposition from automakers, a Vermont judge already upheld the state's adoption of California's tight standards. This is expected to come into play during California's suit against the EPA.

The results of this ruling will have a major impact on automakers. Already, manufacturers create some differing models to meet California standards and many diesels are not sold in California at all. Tighter regulations could see large SUV and truck sales eliminated from California along with all the states that adopt their regulations. Ultimately it could mean an enormous cost to automakers that the consumers will feel in the long run.

[Source: Detroit News, photo by David McNew/Getty]

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