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California Gets OK to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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  • California Gets OK to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    California Gets OK to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions Source - USA, California Thursday, 13 December 2007 Could provide opportunities for natural gas vehicles
    Another chapter has been written in the long running battle between State governments and auto manufacturers in the US over whether States have the right to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. Several States, led by California, have argued the right to do so, while auto manufacturers have argued that such regulations would effectively be fuel economy standards which are outside the jurisdiction of State governments. The ruling could become a boon for alternative fuels such as natural gas, which delivers inherent greenhouse gas benefits and could contribute to massive greenhouse gas reductions.
    U.S. District Court Judge Anthony W. Ishii has thrown out the auto manufacturers arguments, saying that California can in fact set its own rules but needs to do so jointly with the US Environmental Protection Agency.
    The US EPA has to date been reluctant to make rulings on the issue but looks now as if it will be forced to do so, with another court case being one possible avenue.
    Though the timing of a ruling may not yet be known, the writing is one the wall – Los Angeles Times quotes Roland Hwang, director of clean vehicle programs for the Natural Resources Defense Council, which also intervened for the state, as saying the ruling in effect finished legal debate over the right of states to regulate tailpipe emissions. "The automakers can send their lawyers home and put their engineers to work on building clean cars."
    The Times article also says that according to some estimates, California's more stringent standards would raise the fuel economy of gasoline-fueled cars to an average of 43.5 miles per gallon by 2016, up from 27.5 mpg today.
    With natural gas delivering as much as a 35% reduction against some gasoline equivalent engines, automakers may need to offer natural gas engines as a means of achieving the proposed targets.