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CARB Approves Landmark Reg

Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved a potential turning
point in automotive emissions regulations. By a unanimous vote, CARB
declared carbon dioxide to be a “pollutant” and will regulate tailpipe
emissions of the gas. The regulation will take effect in 2006, and first
apply to 2009 model-year vehicles. It calls for an initial set of “near
term” standards that would have to be met through 2013, and then a set
of “midterm” standards would apply through 2016.

CARB claims the standards will result in a 25 percent to 30
percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles. Vehicle
manufacturers maintain that the CARB regulation is, in fact, a
fuel-economy regulation, a prerogative reserved to the federal
government. The automakers may use this legal argument to sue California
and block the rule, especially since New York and six other
Northeastern states, as well as Canada, are expected to adopt the
California rule.

The automakers pegged the cost per vehicle sold in California due
to the regulation at $3,000, and the expected operating-cost savings
over the vehicle’s life at $1,000 (mainly from higher fuel economy).

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