Consumer Union Urges California to Adopt Stricter Emissions Laws

By Jacob Brown | January 27, 2012
The California Air Resources Board, the state agency in charge of emissions laws, is voting this week on whether it is to adopt the Advanced Clean Cars Program. The Consumer Union, parent company of Consumer Reports, let its voice known that it wants California to vote approve the strongest measures possible. In an open letter, the Consumer Union said, "Ensuring strong clean car standards protects consumers. In practice, cleaner car standards encourage the development of cars that go farther on a gallon of gas, and of alternatively-fueled vehicles. The result is cleaner, more efficient cars that help reduce America’s vulnerability to oil and gasoline price shocks." The Advanced Clean Cars Program looks to work in conjunction with the federal government's proposed 54.5 mpg CAFE standards, but it mandates in states adhering to California's stricter emissions laws an increase in the number of alternative-fuel vehicles. Currently, proposals call for just four percent of vehicles sold in 2025 to be powered by electricity, plug-in, hybrid, or other alternative fuels such as hydrogen. The Advanced Clean Cars Program will increase zero-emissions vehicles sold to 15.4 percent by 2025. Per the Consumer Union's research, 81 percent of California residents agreed that automakers needed to clean up emissions, 75 percent said California should require automakers to build more "green" vehicles, and 77 percent said there should be state-mandated requirements for oil companies to make cleaner fuels like hydrogen and electricity available.'s take: We know a private organization like the Consumer Union has every right to have its voice heard. But recommending mandating how big corporations run their businesses in the case of oil producers by way of an informal survey doesn't work. It'd be like telling Nike that 15.4 percent of the shoes it sells must be dress shoes. CARB tried this before in the 1990s with the program that spawned the GM EV1 and Honda EV Plus electric vehicles. It was deemed too expensive and largely unnecessary. The market will settle itself out, and the cars will get there. If California adopts the policy that Consumer Union is advocating, we see history repeating itself. Source: Consumer Union, CARB