California board takes up issues with car firms on federal fuel economy standards

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 16, 2011

If the Obama administration seeks to negotiate an agreement by the fall, it will have to resolve certain conflicts raised as California regulators shot back at automakers on proposed federal fuel economy standards for 2017-25.

According to a California Air Resources Board spokesman, a letter from the auto industry's main trade group indicates “its intent to back away from its commitment to build the clean cars the nation needs.”

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers sent a letter to key House Republicans this week that also aims to delay California efforts to develop fuel efficiency and tailpipe emission standards, another CARB spokesman said. He said that contrary to the trade group's claims, the state's standards will be meshed with the eventual U.S. rule.

In an e-mail, CARB spokesman Stanley Young said that it is concerned about the sincerity of the Alliance's commitment to a national program.

The Alliance struck a conciliatory note. The group's spokeswoman, Gloria Bergquist, said that they anticipate that California “decides to remain at the table with [them]."

She said that automakers are "committed to working constructively" with California and the Obama administration to come up with a national rule. So far, a dozen states have vowed to adopt California's fuel economy and tailpipe emission standards.

The Jan. 11 letter that the Alliance sent revealed their worries that a preliminary federal proposal for automakers will raise the corporate average fuel economy of cars and light trucks to between 47 mpg and 62 mpg by the 2025 model year. [via autonews - sub. required]

Topics: united states

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