Auto Industry Seeks To Block Tough California Emissions Rules

By Agence France-Presse The trade group representing most major automakers has filed suit to block a California law that would force manufacturers to make cars and trucks with lower greenhouse gas emissions. In the suit filed Dec. 7, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers sought an injunction to stop California from enacting a plan to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2016. The suit contends that California does not have the authority to enact the legislation because only the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has the power to set fuel economy standards, and carbon dioxide emissions are, in effect, synonymous with fuel economy. The aim of the legislation was to curb tailpipe emissions that scientists say contribute to global warming, but the industry argued that even with the elimination of every vehicle in the state of California, "there would be no identifiable change in temperature or climate in the state." "The regulation would only reduce greenhouse gases by 1/10 of 1% percent globally," it said. "Californians would see no health benefits from this regulation. The regulation only addresses carbon dioxide, not smog. Unlike smog, carbon dioxide poses no health hazard." The trade group also argued that it would increase vehicle prices by $3,000 and restrict consumer choice by forcing manufacturers to do away with vehicles with higher emissions, such as big SUVs. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. district court in Fresno by 13 California car dealerships and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents nine automakers, including General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., DaimlerChrysler AG, Toyota Motor Co., BMW AG and Volkswagen AG.

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