Cars. All in a crazy day in California

November 20, 2007 at 7:24 am | Posted in American, Asian, Auto industry, Automakers, California, Cars, Court, Dinosaurs, Emissions standards, European, Extinction, Fillmore, Judge, Manufacturers, Marketing, San Francisco | 2 Comments

Fillmore from Cars by Bethan © BRC 2006

This post is brought to you from San Francisco, car share capital of the world, and Fillmore artwork is by my daughter.

;-) San Francisco Chronicle

Auto industry asks court to slam brakes on state’s tough emission standards

Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Read that article and you can see how the desperate automakers are trying it on in Fresno, now. For example:

The legal battle over global warming moved Monday to the Central Valley, where the auto industry tried to convince a federal judge that California’s attempt to limit car emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases is beyond its authority.

Lawyers for car manufacturers, dealers and trade associations said California’s 2002 law, the model for statutes in 11 other states, amounted to a requirement for higher gas mileage, a subject that only the federal government can regulate.

Although federal law allows California to take a lead role in reducing air pollution, Congress never “intended a single state to have such sweeping authority to unilaterally set national fuel economy policy … and profoundly affect a vital national industry,” said Raymond Ludwiszewski, lawyer for a trade group of international automakers.

But U.S. District Judge Anthony Ishii suggested that the industry’s argument had been undercut by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in April upholding the federal government’s authority to limit emissions of greenhouse gases.

Ishii noted that the court – rejecting arguments by the Bush administration as well as the auto industry – found no conflict between the Environmental Protection Agency’s duty to regulate air pollutants and federal transportation officials’ authority to regulate fuel economy.


I like the way the lawyer is described as representing “a trade group of international automakers”. International? Technically so, but European and Asian vehicle manufacturers routinely make cars that are much more fuel efficient than most dinosaurs on America’s roads. Who is this lawyer trying to kid? He is obviously paid to sell a pure big heavy clunky out-dated American auto makers’ argument, but we do not have to accept the impression that these emissions standards present a problem that is international in scope.

And what were the Bush administrations arguments that were rejected by the court? White House staff have no moral* leg to stand on if they support the automakers in a California court, while briefing the press as to the Bush Administration’s official line on this emissions and fuel economy business, this way (last Friday in Washington DC):

President Bush has backed a whole new suite of mandatory appliance efficiency requirements at the federal level. President Bush has supported the Department of Energy’s work with the states, who currently have legal authority to set renewable power requirements; the federal government does not have that authority, but the states do —and we have assisted them with that. And then finally the states have the authority on building codes, and our Department of Energy has been working with the states to update their building codes to achieve more efficiency in new and retro-fit buildings.

So in the major activities that give rise to CO2 emissions, we have backed sensible, mandatory programs that are predicated on the availability of technology to achieve them.

Jim Connaughton, Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality answering a question at Press Briefing via Conference Call by Senior Administration Officials on IPCC Report.

I guess if the automakers refuse to develop technology to bring U.S. vehicles up to 21st century standards that the rest of the world take for granted, then there is technically no available home-grown technology.

Old-fashioned marketing to American consumers that continues to promote the out-moded BIG is BEAUTIFUL (instead of big is beastiful) message does not help drivers and passengers take kindly to smart European and Asian cars that cut fuel bills in half and are much too cool besides 😉

If President Bush is that committed to efficiency and fuel standards, why in the world would his dear, sweet administration legal staff have any reason to quibble over California helping him be a climate hero?!

* Yes, I know. Morals don’t come into it: they don’t operate on those grounds. But I would celebrate a change of heart if it were heartfelt and true.



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  1. Huh? No moral ground? What about the fate of the workers who work for the auto industry, should they collapse?

    If auto polution is such a problem why don’t the state improve its public transportation first, and encourage people to use them instead of private cars?

    This is stupid and selfish. It’s akin to suing fast food chain for your obesity. It’s your problem. If it’s your problem, then do something about it, why would you push the problem down somebody else’s throat (the automakers) while you yourself are doing exactly nothing!?

    I say get off your moral high horse hypocrite.

  2. Dear Huh?! aka noman at nowhere,

    Yes, auto pollution is a major problem.

    You are right that public transportation definitely needs to be improved to provide alternative means of travel.

    Telecommuting also needs to gain in popularity, as that cuts the need for transportcommuting to offices.

    I have worked in a steelworks and ‘dark satanic mills’ of engineering firms in Europe that are no more. Same goes for high-tech start-ups in America. The industries or companies I worked for years ago no longer exist. It is not pleasant to go to work when you can clearly see the writing on the wall, but I moved on because that is the only thing for me to do under those circumstances.

    European and Japanese cars have had much greater fuel efficiencies than American vehicles that perform the same purpose. I still believe that, for the good of the world, automakers need to clean up their act.

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