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Road Work Ahead
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California's Pollution Challenge

The state of California, a pioneer in pollution control because of its historic battle with severe smog, is trying to make a difference. In 1990, the California Air Resources Board adopted a regulation requiring that 10% of all large automobiles sold from 2003 onward be zero-emission vehicles (ZEV's). The idea was to encourage auto companies to incubate new technology rather than simply make internal combustion engines cleaner. In other words, to go from designing vehicles that would pollute less to vehicles that wouldn't pollute at all. (The California Air Resources Board provides more information on the Zero-Emission Vehicle Program.)

Last year, recognizing that the car companies were not ready to meet the goal, the state amended the regulation to grant companies credit for low-emission vehicles and hybrid cars like the Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius, which run on gasoline and electricity.

But the industry took this relaxation of the rules as an opening to challenge the entire regulation; it would prefer no quotas at all. So General Motors and DaimlerChrysler sued the state of California. On October 9, the Bush Administration, in an unusual move, joined the lawsuit, claiming that the state, by regulating emissions, was trying to set a gasoline mileage standard, which only the federal government can do.

The state says that it is simply doing what the federal government won't, protect its citizens against air pollution. Governor Gray Davis says, "Fuel cell and hybrid technology is a decade ahead of where it would have been in the absence of zero-emission vehicle regulations. I am disappointed that the federal government would intervene with our efforts to protect our air quality."

Read Attorney General Lockyer's position on climate change: State Attorneys General Press Bush Administration For Federal Leadership to Address Global Warming

Further resources:

American Lung Association of California
This site puts zero-emission vehicles in the spotlight as part of their ongoing fight for cleaner air.

Governor Gray Davis

Fran Pavley, Assemblymember from the 41st District

Global Climate Change
The California Air Resources Board's site provides links to information concerning global climate change including Assembly Bill 1493 (Pavley) signed by the California Governor on July 22, 2002.

American Lung Association of California
This site puts zero-emission vehicles in the spotlight as part of their ongoing fight for cleaner air.

We Decide What We Drive!
A coalition of taxpayers, organized labor, motorists, large and small businesses, agriculture and others have branded Assembly Bill 1058 (Pavley) as an open-ended attack on California consumers. On this site, visitors can click on the radio icon to hear the ads they have created in opposition to increased fuel economy.

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