Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Calif Still Wants Waiver But Accepts National Standard

California agreed it would defer to the national standard and would not establish its own tougher emissions rule if it receives the waiver under the Clean Air Act that it's been seeking from the Environmental Protection Agency. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger attended The White House press announcing the movement of the target for achieving Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards from 2020 to 2016. The EPA hasn't made a final decision about the waiver.

Much of the reduction of gases that trap heat in the atmosphere would come from better fuel efficiency. Burning less fuel means a vehicle emits less carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas. But improvements in cars mandated in the new standards also will reduce three other gases causing global warming - methane, nitrous oxide and hydrofluorocarbons.

The improvements will add several hundred dollars to the cost per vehicle but consumers will see savings in reduced fuel use, and people who buy cars on a 60-month loan might end up finding the slight increase in the monthly cost is made up in fuel savings, the official said, briefing reporters under White House rules that required anonymity.

According to the Obama administration, the program will save 900 million metric tons of greenhouse gases through 2016, the equivalent of shutting down 194 coal plants. The new standards will require all cars get cleaner. Previous CAFE standards allowed companies to offset less efficient cars by making some that were more efficient. The agreement came out of talks between automakers, California, the EPA and the Department of Transportation. The Bush administration denied the waiver to California, and the state remained adamant in seeking it. (, 5/18/09)

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