Costly New Climate Rules for California Cars

Contact for Interviews:     <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />

Marlo Lewis, 202.669.6693

Jody Clarke, 202.331.2252



Washington, D.C., August 6, 2004— The state of California’s air quality regulators will unveil a report Monday laying out rules limiting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from cars and trucks sold in that state over the next several years in hopes of slowing climate change.  The California Air Resources Board is expected to lay out a regulatory scheme which will not only cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars while having no discernable impact on the climate, but which also tramples on federal authority for setting fuel efficiency standards.


Given the tiny contribution to global carbon dioxide emissions represented by the state’s passenger vehicles, the law the Board is tasked with enforcing amounts to an expensive transportation tax that will burden the state’s drivers while providing no measurable benefits.


Specifically, the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />California state legislature has directed the Air Resources Board to adopt a regulation which would result in the “maximum feasible” reduction of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from future passenger vehicles models.  Unfortunately, the recommendations for engine and other modifications would clearly conflict with the federal government’s authority to determine fuel efficiency standards.  No state agency has the authority to override these national standards.


The Board faces an impossible task.  It cannot recommend maximum feasible reductions without poaching on federal authority, nor can it make those recommendations cost effective, no matter what accounting sleight of hand they might choose to employ.


“Before going any further to implement a set of emissions reduction rules, the Board should brief Governor Schwarzenegger and the California legislature on the practical and legal impossibility of carrying out its mandate,” said Marlo Lewis, Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.