California Cool Car Rules Dropped

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
california cool car rules dropped

Remember how the California Air Resources Board was contemplating banning black cars because air conditioning uses so much C02 ( or not)? Well, the madness is over, as The Detroit News reports that California’s proposed “Cool Car” rules are dead. What killed them (besides common sense and the laws of diminishing returns)? Law enforcement, for one, which warned that

the new standards, requiring window glazing to keep car interiors cool, could degrade signals from cell phones and ankle monitoring bracelets worn by felons in rural or mountainous areas.

CARB’s glazing standards also would have been incompatible with toll booth “EZ-pass” technology and could have interfered with cell-phone transmissions.But don’t think that the CARB will just ignore the .7 million metric tons per year of C02 (by 2020) that they weren’t able to eliminate. According to a statement by the board’s executive officer,Instead, the Board will pursue a performance-based approach as part of its vehicle climate change program to reduce CO2 from air conditioning and provide cooler car interiors for California motoristAnd what, pray, does that mean? Spokesman Stanley Young tells the LA Times that OEMs auto will still have to meet a standard for a specific drop in the interior temperature of vehiclesbut they are free to draw on any technology to achieve it. This could be through advanced windows that keep the sun’s heat out, but also heat-reflecting paints, different upholstery, or even fans that circulate air and keep the car cool while it is standing in the sun.Costs for the abandoned standard were estimated to cost manufacturers between $39 and $128 per vehicle, and it’s interesting that increased cost apparently wasn’t a factor in the decision to walk away from “cool cars” rules. Will the “performance-based” standard help control those costs? Meanwhile, will folks in climates where air conditioning isn’t widely used have to pay for the cost of California compliance as well? CARB helped push national emissions standards forward, and clearly relishes its role as the rogue-agent vanguard of vehicle regulation, so don’t expect cool-car standards to simply disappear.
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  • MadHungarian MadHungarian on Mar 30, 2010

    Having owned similar black and white cars (both Town Cars) in the same climate (southeast GA) my experience is that the color of the car does not make a great deal of difference in use of the A/C -- especially in an automatic temperature control system where it is very easy to leave it at one setting nearly all the time and never push that A/C OFF button. I have also found that at highway speeds there is about an 0.8 MPG penalty for A/C on versus A/C off (05 Town Car, windows closed both cases) The laws of thermodynamics say basically there is no free lunch. Thus, the energy I use to run the A/C, AND also the power steering, power seat (which slides back and forth every time I exit and enter the car), windows and locks has to come from somewhere. Up until the mid 60's, you could buy Cadillacs that had manual seats, locks and windows and no A/C. Today, even the most ridiculous econocar is "fully loaded" by '64 Cadillac standards. There must be a measurable economy benefit to a car with all manual controls versus the same machine with those things electrically operated, but you can't sell it. I think even Volts and Leafs (Leaves?) have electric windows and seats, for heavens sake.

  • Bunkie Bunkie on Apr 01, 2010

    I love the mud huts/modern argument. It's a classic straw man. The fact is that technological advancement is the result of all sorts of stimulus. Bureaucratic rules have their place. Is there anyone here who can reasonably argue that we have not benefitted mightily from clean air legislation? And for car lovers, the major advantage has been the radical increase in efficiency a great part of which has led to cars with a lot more go. Nobody likes the short-term pain caused by conditions resulting from rules changes. Yes, low-VOC paint really sucked. So did the wheezing, emasculated engines of the mid to late 70s. But the ever-inventive human mind coupled with the profit motive have overcome these problems. So will it continue. In the end, so long as the debate is reasoned and we stay away from technology mandates (as opposed to goal-oriented approaches), it's a necessary part of the process.

  • FreedMike I don't know why this dash shocks anyone - the whole "touchscreen uber alles" thing is pure Tesla.
  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.