WASHINGTON (Dec. 20, 2007) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has denied California's petition to promulgate its own standards limiting tailpipe emissions from vehicles in the state.
California and 14 other states may not pre-empt the recently passed federal goal of 35 miles per gallon corporate average fuel economy by 2020, EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson ruled. Those states sought to require CAFE standards of 36 mpg by 2016.
"The administration's announcement undermines the ability of the states to protect their citizens from the dangers of global warming," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a written statement that expressed the general opinion of U.S. environmentalists.
Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, said the state is prepared to fight the EPA ruling in court. Independent auto repairers generally have opposed the California law because of its provision for "super warranties," which place a 150,000-mile, 15-year warranty on vehicle emissions control equipment.
This essentially binds all vehicles to auto dealers' repair shops for their entire service lives, the Automotive Service Association has said.
The EPA ruling doesn't end "super warranties," which have already been enacted in California and other states, according to Bob Redding, Washington representative of the ASA.
It does, however, remove the impetus for having "super warranties," he said. "If I'm, say, North Carolina, I'm not going to have the motivation to do any of this," he said.