New auto emission regs could block some car sales

Detroit automakers and their wealthier Japanese competitors have one more obstacle to rebuilding car sales. They are about to face a spate of new state-level auto emissions restrictions across the United States.

Detroit automakers and their wealthier Japanese competitors have one more obstacle to rebuilding car sales. They are about to face a spate of new state-level auto emissions restrictions across the United States. Some current and planned models may not make the cut. It's being leaked about D.C. that the Obama Administration through the Environmental Protection Agency will remove barriers for state auto emissions regulations. Those barriers were erected over a year ago by the Bush EPA and prevented California, New York and a dozen other states from having tougher fuel efficiency standards than the federal government. It was action by California over 30 years ago that produced the nation's first-ever anti-smog regulations. Since then California and other states had often enforced tougher car emissions standards than the feds. Until Bush's folks stopped all that on behalf of the whining auto makers. Last week California's Governor petitioned Obama for a reversal of the anti-regulation regulation. California's regulations would force automakers to cut tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases by 30 percent in new cars and light trucks by 2016. Other states that would adopt California's standards are: Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. No automaker could afford to stop selling in all those states. Back when California first adopted anti-smog regulations some European automakers like Peugot and Fiat abandoned the U.S. market rather than comply. The states with tighter regulatons on emissions are likely to get larger allocations of hybrid and plug-in vehicles as those are manufactured, with higher emissions cars going to the de-regulated states. Nationally the Obama Admin will issue anti-emissions rules that the previous regime had refused to issue in compliance with a 2007 federal law. Another tough day for the automakers in D.C. Obama's new EPA chief was confirmed at the end of last week. She is Lisa Jackson, a scientist and experienced govrnment official from New Jersey. She actually believes in science and promised to bring the rule of law to the EPA. Revolutionary.

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