Latest News

Manufacturers Challenge Emissions Standards In California

Dec 29, 2004

The trade press is reporting that a coalition of automobile manufacturers is suing California regulators to reverse the ultra-strict vehicle emissions standards adopted in September requiring manufacturers to cut nearly 30% of greenhouse gas emissions from all passenger vehicles sold in California by 2016.Manufacturers argue that the standards are not only setting pollution goals, but also modifying fuel economy, which would likely set a precedent for other “California Car” states, such as New Jersey. The regulations are scheduled to be phased in beginning in 2009.The lawsuit contends that only the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has the authority to set fuel economy standards.State regulators sidestepped the issue by regulating carbon dioxide emissions, not fuel economy.Compliance with the newly-adopted standards would potentially increase the cost of a new vehicle by an average $3,000, according to manufacturers, while regulators estimate the impact would be closer to $1,000 per vehicle. California’s greenhouse-gas rule, the first regulation of its kind in the world, is being closely watched around the globe.A number of states, including New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey, have already indicated that they would like to adopt similar regulations. Auto industry experts say if the California rule is upheld it could lead to major changes in cars sold throughout North America.However, if the challenge is successful, the manufacturers could begin challenging emission standards in other “California Car” states, such as New Jersey, providing a new tool to combat unrealistic and daunting pollution standards that will do little to improve air quality.