Hypocrisy in government is growing as fast as the budget deficit and unemployment lines. The proposal by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and 13 — mostly eastern –states, and the District of Columbia to establish their own fuel economy and greenhouse gas programs continues to be controversial for its fragmenting of Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy regulations.
The 2005 CARB proposal was ultimately rejected by the Bush Administration last year. It is currently under review by the EPA at the request of the Obama Administration, which was elected in part because of the support of environmental pressure groups. EPA must grant a waiver for the CARB proposal to proceed and another ruling is due by April. All told, these states comprise more than 40% of the vehicles sold in the U.S. It is not even clear that any environmental benefit will accrue from such individual state actions. And no credible cost-benefit analysis exists.
Critics maintain that the CARB proposal creates regulatory and marketplace chaos with its confusing, and different standards, which are then followed by other states to varying inconsistent degrees. Without a doubt it is an administrative nightmare.
Virtually all major auto automakers oppose the regulation and have previously undertaken legal actions to prevent it. Lawmakers are trying to get promises from Chrysler and General Motors to drop opposition to the CARB proposal as part of the loan guarantees that are pending.
Worse, is the exemption in California, and presumably the “me too” states of cars bought by the ultra-wealthy. This “let them eat cake attitude” dictates what you can buy in these states and forces smaller vehicles on the road, while luxury cars and limousines continue for those who can afford them.