California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Nov. 15 took to the stage at the Los Angeles Auto Show to tout his environmentally friendly politics and praise car manufacturers increasingly turning to "green" technology. Since becoming governor in 2003 Schwarzenegger has invested heavily in environmental programs, including ambitious legislation passed last year to slash California's greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020 -- the first U.S. state to do so.
To set an example, Schwarzenegger converted his Hummer to run on hydrogen and his administration on November 8 filed an unprecedented lawsuit against the federal government to force it to approve California's tough new restrictions on vehicle greenhouse gas emissions. But this political will belies the reality of a California with 30 million registered vehicles and a poorly developed public transport system that makes car ownership a necessity for too many.
"It is fantastic to see that the world's automakers are developing the technology to help us meet our goals in California," said Schwarzenegger before presenting six vehicles posing different environmental solutions."These cars come in every size and shape and they prove that we can give consumers the choices they want and still protect the environment," he said. "This is exactly the kind of innovation we need."
The cars included an Audi sedan that runs on biofuel, a cheap diesel-powered Volkswagen Jetta, and the electric prototype Chevrolet Volt, which represents a complete about-face for General Motors in seeking non-polluting technologies. Two hybrids were also highlighted by Schwarzenegger: the 4x4 Dodge Durango for Americans who want an eight-passenger vehicle capable of pulling massive loads and still save gas in the city, and a new, rechargeable Toyota Prius. Toyota recently loaned two rechargeable Prius to California universities to have them assessed in real driving conditions and put its 100 kilometers-per-liter (250 miles per gallon) boast to the test.
Finally, Schwarzenegger brought out Honda's new "FCX Clarity," a family car that runs on hydrogen battery power and only emits water vapor that will become available in limited locations in southern California next year.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007