California Judge KO's NHTSA CAFE Regs

california judge kos nhtsa cafe regs

One of the less publicized reasons the White House said it will veto the new Energy Bill: the legislation fails to sort out who controls fuel economy standards. It's become an urgent issue since California lawmakers decided CO2– produced in direct proportion to a vehicle's fuel efficiency– is a "greenhouse gas," and thus a pollutant. Hisotrically, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has waived their federal mandate to set air pollution standards, allowing the state to set their own. So when California decided that CO2 was tailpipe poison, they asked the EPA to set a national CO2 standard or get the Hell out of the way. The EPA said hang on, give us a minute, we'll get back to you. California said time's up and filed suit against the feds. As USA Today reports, a California federal judge has now ruled in California's favor, green lighting the state's efforts to set a combined car and light truck fuel economy standard of 43.7 miles per gallon by 2016, with all other trucks to average 26.9 mpg. The move completely usurps the role of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is in charge of monitoring and enforcing federal fuel economy standards. Needless to say, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is sure to appeal the court's decision, taking it all the way to the Supreme Court if needs be. Now do you see why the White House wants Congress to clear up this jurisdictional bun fight? I mean, jeez.

Comments
Join the conversation
4 of 26 comments
  • Stuki Stuki on Dec 14, 2007

    Well, since our federal government is supposed to be one of enumerated powers, none of which is to bother their tiny little brains about CO2 emissions, this is probably an issue better left to the states in the first place. Regardless of what can be said about California, and despite our spectacular nature and weather, there are some pretty hard upper bounds on the craziness even our politico’s can get away with before the tax base funding their vanity simply packs up and leaves. When the feds get involved, leaving is no longer much of an option. That, in and of itself, is reason enough to prefer controversial regulation to be done at the state, rather than federal level.

  • 1996MEdition 1996MEdition on Dec 14, 2007

    Close all the dealerships in CA and put them on the other side of the border in neighboring states. This seems to work for all the fireworks superstores and Oriental "massage" parlors on the border between Indiana and Michigan.

  • EJ_San_Fran EJ_San_Fran on Dec 14, 2007

    Phil Ressler, By the year 2050 the world needs to cut back greenhouse gas emissions to almost nothing. That means pretty much everything needs to get off carbon or become carbon neutral, including vehicles. There are indications this is achievable and affordable with the help of new technology and determined government action. In the Bay Area the Prius is now the #1 selling vehicle, a nice first step.

  • Phil Ressler Phil Ressler on Dec 14, 2007
    By the year 2050 the world needs to cut back greenhouse gas emissions to almost nothing. Not only does nothing suggest cutting to "almost nothing" is necessary, but it won't happen either. Even the questionable IPCC is only asking for a 50% slash from 2005 level. The data I cited shows that the Prius will not meaningfully change the picture even if it won 100% market share. In the Bay Area the Prius is now the #1 selling vehicle, a nice first step. Environmentally, this is a feel-good gesture consistent with the Bay area's cultural self-image. It's symbolic and unserious if the buyers believe their purchase has meaningful impact. Now, if someone says they want to buy a high-mileage vehicle to reduce US oil imports, reduce particulate and compounds pollution locally....knock yourself out. That means pretty much everything needs to get off carbon or become carbon neutral, including vehicles. There are emerging studies indicating a long global cooling period beginning within 2 or 3 decades, with the research independently reaching that conclusion on three continents. Certainly these researchers are considered isolated dissidents now. Or they see through the existing FUD. Just understand there's a handful of scientists in Russia, China and the US who are in effect saying....hold on, you might need man's greenhouse contribution after all. Phil

Next