California to reduce carbon emissions by banning black cars?

In yet another case of Regulators Gone Wild, California legislation may soon restrict the color options for your next car. 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 resentment could California possibly harbor against black cars, you ask? Apparently, the 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. Similar legislation already exists for buildings and has proven successful at reducing the energy consumption of skyscrapers.

So, what's the problem? Paint suppliers have reportedly been testing their pigments and processes to see if it's possible to meet CARB's proposed mandate of 20 percent solar reflectivity by 2016 with a phase-in period starting in 2012, and it's not 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 April Fool's joke. Sadly, it isn't. Read through CARB's complete Cool Cars Standards and Test Procedures here (PDF link). Thanks for the tip, Joaquin!

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

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