Monday, November 28, 2005

New York Steps Up

When California decided to set its own air quality standards back in 1970 it had no idea what impact that action would take years down the line. Now, states like Vermont and New York are jumping aboard the clean air bandwagon and snubbing federal EPA standards, establishing their own stricter, safer and more demanding emission regulations. The rules, laid out by California, are expected to be followed by as many as 10 other states including New York in the coming year.

Automakers continue to complain (and sue) that these new regulations will limit the availability of many of our favorite trucks, SUVs and larger sedans as well as force them to curb sales of more powerful engine vehicles in the state. If these 10 states (including California) succeed in passing these new regulations they'll be an amazingly powerful regulatory bloc that automakers will have to contend with. Even more important, these markets will account for over a third of the nation's auto sales.

AAM (which has a virtually identical slogan to Ford Motors) says the California legislation will hurt SUV, truck and large car owners the most:
"The California legislation would hurt the most the people that rely on large cars, pickups, S.U.V.'s and minivans," Ms. Bergquist said.

Environmental groups say the rules can be met with technology already on the shelf.

"They said that seat belts would put them out of business; they said that air bags would put them out of business; they said fuel economy and emissions regulations would all put them out of business," said David Friedman, a senior analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

"It turns out it's their unwillingness to innovate that's putting them out of business right now," he added, referring to the current struggles of General Motors and Ford Motor Company.

It seems like America's best automanufacturers are ignoring innovation not adopting it. If anything, American auto companies are busy working to paint every vehicle they produce as a green one.

The push for states to inact their own emission regs will only continue. California, Vermont and New York are on the list...keep your eyes on the others (RI, ME, NJ, MA, OR, WA, CT, PA).

*Point of Irony: the ads on the page linked to above on the NY Times website? Ford's innovation campaign. Can't say that ad space is doing much good.

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