California Enacts Nation's First "Greenhouse" Emissions Law

In a blow to California auto enthusiasts, particularly those fond of light trucks and SUVs, California Governor Gray Davis signed into law a bill (A.B.1493) to regulate “greenhouse” gases (GHG), including carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from motor vehicles.  While the new law eliminates some California vehicle owner concerns by preventing regulators from reducing speed limits, restricting vehicle size or imposing new taxes or fees in order to meet new GHG standards, in actuality it is little more than a back-door effort by environmentalists to set fuel-economy standards.
 
“CO2 is given off whenever gasoline is burned, therefore the only way to cut emissions is to make vehicles that burn less gasoline,” said SEMA Director of Government Affairs Steve McDonald. 
“Ultimately, this new law constitutes an illegal state effort to regulate fuel economy, a strict Federal government prerogative addressed through national Corporate Average Fuel (CAFE) standards.”
 
If left unchallenged, California’s new GHG law could easily result in the downsizing or underpowering of popular performance cars, light trucks and SUVs despite consumer demand for better-performing, larger and more utilitarian vehicles.  Further, this law could even potentially limit the sale and use of specialty automotive parts designed to increase vehicle horsepower and performance simply because they may increase GHG emissions.
 
“Even worse,” noted SEMA director of public affairs, “absent a clear legal decision that this new law violates federal authority, other states may opt to follow California’s misguided effort and begin setting their own unreasonable GHG emissions rules.”
 
SEMA understands that the major automakers are filing suit to strike down this California law, and we fully support these efforts.

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