Wednesday, December 08, 2004

When the federal government won't do it... step the states. (This has become regular fare under the Bush administration.) California has passed strict regulations calling for a substantial reduction in greenhouse gasses from cars and trucks by 2016. The automakers are complaining that they don't want to deal with a patchwork of state rules across the country. This canard is a cover for their fear that other states will adopt the California standards. What the automakers are really saying is that because the California car market is so big, it will force them to adopt the California standards for a large portion of the cars and trucks they build. Once they've done that, they may be forced to build the rest of their fleet to the same standards since they won't be able to claim that it isn't economically or technologically feasible to do so.

The states regulate all sort of things from fertilizer to insurance without federal intervention. They're smart enough to know they need to coordinate their rules with one another and do so routinely. So it's obvious that with the Bush administration in power, the automakers' protestations that they prefer federal regulation to state regulation is the same as saying they want no regulation at all. Doesn't everybody already know this game?

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