13 January 2003
Auto makers get zero-emissions break
Sacramento, Calif. - Late last week California's air-quality board recommended delaying until 2005 sales quotas on zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) that were supposed to be adopted this year.
The California Air Resources Board's original regulations required 10% of all new vehicles sold in California from this year to have zero or near zero emissions. That percentage would gradually increase to 16% by year 2018.
Instead of fighting a court injunction to delay enactment of the zero-emission vehicle rule for two years, the board voluntarily pushed back the start date.
The board maintains that the new rules keep pushing manufacturers to develop a new generation of low-pollution vehicles.
Critics, however, said the proposed new regulations would let major manufacturers avoid putting additional zero-emission vehicles on the road through 2009 using provisions that give them credits on existing low-pollution vehicles.
The proposal stems from a lawsuit filed by auto makers against the emissions rule that resulted in a federal judge's preliminary injunction in June delaying enforcement for two years. A state judge issued a second temporary restraining order last month.
The board decided Friday to extend its own delay and reword language auto makers objected to because "removal of this uncertainty is essential for the ZEV program to move ahead," the Associated Press quoted the board as saying.
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