CARB So Crazy: California To Ban Black Cars?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
carb so crazy california to ban black cars

Autobloggreen recently got its paws on a presentation (PDF, read the whole thing) from the California Air Resource Board’s public “cool cars workshop.” And let’s just say the thing exudes the kind of bureaucratic overreach heretofore only imagined by folks sporting the latest in tinfoil chapeau. Here’s the logic: cars that get hot when they sit require greater air conditioning, which increases fuel consumption and (tada!) air pollution. And since architectural surface coatings are 25-35 percent reflective, there’s no reason not to require similar levels from auto paint, right? Skyscrapers, cars; potato, potahto. CARB will require vehicle surfaces to reflect at least 20 percent of solar energy by 2012, a figure that no black auto paint can currently achieve. One third of OEM palettes must meet the 20 percent mark by then, and all OEM paints must meet the goal by 2016. Oh, yes, and by 2016 even collision repair shops have to use the special paint. The only mitigation for these rules are if you sufficiently increase the Rd factor of your cars windshield glazing. And just to keep a song in your heart, “other compliance options are under investigation.”

The benefits? About .8 million metric tons less CO2 released per year. At an estimated OEM cost of between $39 and $128 per vehicle. But the real price is paid by the consumer, who will not only shoulder the OEM cost increase but will also see repair costs increase while losing the freedom to buy a car in their preferred color. Reducing cooling emissions is one thing in a skyscraper, where a one-time glazing investment can greatly reduce both the cost and environmental impact of cooling. But for government to transfer architectural regulations wholesale to the automotive sector betrays both a lack of perspective and an attitude of regulation-at-all-costs. Given the myriad improvements to efficiency and emissions that continue to occur in the automotive sector, regulating car color comes across as nothing more than an exercise in bureaucratic power for its own sake. And it hastens a world where cars no longer reflect the diversity of our culture and aspirations. Or are we supposed to be happy that CARB didn’t mandate one single acceptable color?

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  • on Apr 01, 2009

    [...] To read more about the bill in Sacramento click HERE [...]

  • AZHOT AZHOT on Apr 06, 2009

    @JT: Case NOT closed. If it's so hot that leaving the windows down won't provide sufficient comfort, then people will run the air conditioner full time, regardless of how well insulated the cabin is. Also, air conditioning is as much about dehumidification as it is about cooling. Having lived in Southern CA most of my life, and the past 6 years in Phoenix, I can tell you that my climate-control habits are identical anywhere. In fact, if the outside temperature is too cool to warrant full-on air conditioning, I just turn up the temperature knob on the dash until I'm comfortable, leaving the AC on. Warm AND dry. JB

  • Jwee More range and faster charging cannot be good news for the heavily indebted and distracted Musk.Tesla China is discounting their cars. Apart from the Model 3, no one is much buying Tesla's here in Europe. Other groups have already passed Tesla in Europe, where it was once dominant.Among manufacturers, 2021 EV sales:VW Group 25%, Stellantis at 14.5%,Tesla at 13.9%Hyundai-Kia at 11.2% Renault Group at 10.3%. Just 2 years ago, Tesla had a commanding 31.1% share of the European EV marketOuch., changed their data, so this is slightly different than last time I posted this, but same idea.
  • Varezhka Given how long the Mitsubishi USA has been in red, that's a hard one. I mean, this company has been losing money in all regions *except* SE Asia and Oceania ever since they lost the commercial division to Daimler.I think the only reason we still have the brand is A) Mitsubishi conglomerate's pride won't allow it B) US still a source of large volume for the company, even if they lose money on each one and C) it cost too much money to pull out and no one wants to take responsibility. If I was the head of Mitsubishi's North American operation and retreat was not an option, I think my best bet would be to reduce overhead by replacing all the cars with rebadged Nissans built in Tennessee and Mexico.As much as I'd like to see the return of Triton, Pajero Sport (Montero Sport to you and me), and Delica I'm sure that's more nostalgia and grass is greener thing than anything else.
  • Varezhka If there's one (small) downside to the dealer not being allowed to sell above MSRP, it's that now we get a lot of people signing up for the car with zero intention of keeping the car they bought. We end up with a lot of "lightly used" examples on sale for a huge mark-up, including those self-purchased by the dealerships themselves. I'm sure this is what we'll end up seeing with GR Corolla in Japan as well.This is also why the Land Cruiser has a 4 year waitlist in Japan (36K USD starting MSRP -> buy and immediately flip for 10, 20K more -> profit) I'm not sure if there's a good solution for this apart from setting the MSRP higher to match what the market allows, though this lottery system is probably as close as we can get.
  • Jeff S @Lou_BC--Unrelated to this article but of interest I found this on You Tube which explains why certain vehicles are not available in the US because of how the CAFE measures fuel standards. I remember you commenting on this a few years ago on another article on TTAC. The 2023 Chevrolet Montana is an adorable small truck that's never coming to the USA. It's not because of the 1.2L engine, or that Americans aren't interested in small trucks, it's that fuel economy legislation effectively prevents small trucks from happening. What about the Maverick? It's not as small as you think. CAFE, or Corporate Average Fuel Economy is the real reason trucks in America are all at least a specific dimension. Here's how it works and why it means no tiny trucks for us.
  • Gabe A new retro-styled Montero as their halo vehicle to compete against the Bronco, Wrangler and 4Runner. Boxy, round headlights like the 1st generation, two door and four door models, body on frame.A compact, urban truck, Mighty Max, to compete against the Maverick. Retro-styled like the early 90s Mighty Max.A new Outlander Sport as more of a wagon/crossover to compete against the Crosstrek and Kona. Needs to have more power (190+ HP) and a legit transmission, no CVT.A new Eclipse hybrid to compete against the upcoming redesigned Prius. Just match the Prius's specs and make it look great.Drop the Eclipse Cross, I am not sure why they wanted to resurrect the Pontiac Aztec. Keep the Mirage and keep it cheap, make the styling better and up the wheel size. The Outlander seems fine.I like the idea of some sort of commercial vehicle, something similar in size to the Promaster City but with AWD.