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California to EPA: Cough up that emissions waiver, already

Posted by Clifford Atiyeh  January 26, 2009 12:09 PM

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After the California Air Resources Board sent a letter last week pressuring new EPA administrator Lisa Jackson to accept the state's aggressive emissions reduction program - denied by the Bush administration three years ago - President Obama today directed the agency to accept it.

California - along with 13 other states including Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, and Vermont - want automakers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2016. The air board's chairman Mary Nichols called the former EPA administrator's denial "flawed, factually and legally, in fundamental ways."

According to the Los Angeles Times, this translates into a passenger fleet average of 42 miles per gallon by 2020, seven more than the current Corporate Average Fuel Economy requirements passed by Congress in 2007. Other estimates, most notably from Michigan attorney general Mike Cox, peg the number at 49 miles per gallon.

"If California and a handful of other states are allowed to dictate environmental policy for the entire country on a state-by-state basis and not a uniform basis, our nation's economy will become further weakened," said Cox in a Friday press release.

Both domestic and foreign automakers begrudgingly accepted the 2007 regulations but continue to argue against tougher standards, noting that high retooling costs and current product cycles - which typically span three to four years - stand in the way. The future could be especially troubling for low-volume manufacturers like Porsche, which are dependent entirely on high-performance cars.

"What we need is certainty and consistency, not confusion and chaos," said Charles Territo, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, on NPR this morning. "And I think we're all concerned that this would create chaos not only for consumers, but also for dealers and for manufacturers."

No doubt the strictest in the nation, California's emissions regulations have been a thorn in the industry's side since 1966, when the state required "bolt-on pollution controls" for new model cars. Historically, the tough requirements on carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate emissions forced automakers to sell California-specific models of the same car. Only recently have diesel-powered cars like the Mercedes-Benz BlueTec and Volkswagen TDI models - equipped with expensive emissions controls - been allowed for sale in the state.

But California's persistence for tougher federal air laws has paid off. Most automakers design vehicles to meet emissions in all states, and other California initiatives - such as the ban on MTBE gasoline additives and the march toward ultra-low sulfur diesel - have trickled nationwide.

This showdown isn't going anywhere.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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36 comments so far...
  1. They moan and complain about increased standards, yet they are able to meet them every time. And I don't buy the Michigan A.G. argument. Obviously he's on the other side, he wants life as easy as possible for his consituents. I would agree if every state had a different standard, but every state that is not accepting the federal standards is seeking to adopt the CA standards. Perhaps the automakers should just make all their vehicles to those emission standards?

    If GM hadn't abandoned their EV1 program they would be a monopoly right now...

    Posted by Dave January 26, 09 01:17 PM
  1. Article I of the Constitution (section 8) specifically reserves the right to regulate both domestic and foreign commerce to the Congress. Avoiding 13 different standards for trade across the states was one of the prime reasons the Constitution was written!!!

    Posted by jefferson madison January 26, 09 01:45 PM
  1. It's stupid to allow individual states to set limits. That ought to make the auto industry more efficient. NOT. Just set tougher standards at the Federal level and get on with it. Obama needs to get a spine and stop trying to be a friend to everyone. Not a decision to be de-centralized.

    Posted by Mansfield_Dude January 26, 09 01:51 PM
  1. This is such a dumb move on so many levels:
    1. Letting each state determine emissions standards instead of having a national standard is going to add a lot more cost to everything than is necessary when we can least afford it.
    2. All the non-industrial sources of greenhouse gases make the industrial sources insignificant: cattle and other animal life, forest fires, volcanoes, the oceans, etc.
    3. We have enough of our own oil and gas resources that we could end our dependence on foreign sources much more quickly if we were allowed to develop them. Natural gas vehicles or NGV would be possible in a short period and greatly reduce carbon emissions. What happened to “all of the above”.
    4. This whole greenhouse gas thing is a scam for the elitists to control everything and to get rich selling carbon credits (a bunch of smoke and mirrors) e.g. Al Gore.

    Posted by MyView49 January 26, 09 02:01 PM
  1. Coming from the Cars section editor, I'm honestly shocked at how much is either left out or entirely wrong in this article.

    First, Cox is a Republican attempting a gubernatorial bid in 2010, so it's unsurprising he is going to portray the CARB standards as unacceptable. Michigan's economy has been the worst in the country for the last decade, and any way to blame it on someone else is a good way to get votes. But that's a matter of opinion, so I'm fine with the Cars editor having one.

    Second, the whole point of why this was so big a controversy is that the staff of the EPA thought the standards were reasonable - and were overruled for political purposes.

    Third, you have it entirely backwards on diesel. The "expensive modifications" to diesel engines required for the US have previously been to let them run on HIGHER sulfur levels, because the US was behind Europe. If anything, the CA standards lower the total vehicle cost because you can now produce one engine model worldwide, even if you've got to put in slightly more expensive emission systems. It's the modification to produce ultra-low sulfur diesel for REFINERIES that was expensive (and remains such, since refining diesel is about the only way those companies have made money for the last 6 months since there's limited supply). That's a nationwide issue, not a California issue.

    Detroit complained for years about the CAFE standards and forced keeping the 'light truck' exemption to exempt their most profitable models from it to make the CAFE standards almost meaningless (along with opening that designation wide open for 'trucks' like the PT Cruiser). Oil demand in the US flattened through the 1980s and then began rising steadily again because of this. Had we all followed California's example, we'd likely have paid $300-400 more for each new car for the last 20 years - and probably saved $5000 per person in fuel costs, not to mention carbon footprint and all the other touchy feely stuff. Unless you buy a new car every year, which would you rather be?

    So I wouldn't be particularly glib about this. Theoretically, it makes sense for a nationwide standard. Practically, it's been a disaster.

    Posted by Harold S January 26, 09 02:02 PM
  1. Harold, the statement on diesel was directed at current "clean" diesel-powered cars, which are indeed priced higher here and abroad because of the methods used to remove the fuel's harmful nitrogen oxides and particulates. This is not the case for similar, gasoline-powered models.

    Posted by Clifford Atiyeh January 26, 09 02:11 PM
  1. Since the Big 3 are already on the precipice of bankruptcy, who's going to pay for this? I guess we'll just add it to the bail out tab.

    Posted by Steve B January 26, 09 02:20 PM
  1. what would happen if the big 3 refused to sell vehicles for a year in cali?. i'm for clean air, but let's be real.

    Posted by twodan January 26, 09 02:54 PM
  1. Command and Control style environmental policies are expensive and inneffective. If Califonia wants to lowers its emissions, then it can raise its gas tax. A gas tax is the ONLY way to regulate car MPG. Individual states having differing emission control policy is nothing new, however. CA should have installed a waiver to pre 2009 level emissions for low-volume manufacturers (Porche, Ferrari, etc)

    Posted by Mark D. January 26, 09 02:55 PM
  1. Detroit has the blueprints to make vehicles that get 100+ MPG & has had them for decades. They do not want to spend the money to retool and build facilities which will produce low emissions/high MPG vehicles. After all it will take time and money, that they then cannot use to line their pockets with - how else are they going to make 50 Million per year!
    They are in bed with the oil companies and none of this low emissions/high MPG is what they want, so they will continue to drag their feet - and probably put themselves out of business (which is why I was against the auto bailout)
    We need car manufacturers that respond to what the public wants, not big oil and manufacturing.

    Posted by RedSox13 January 26, 09 03:13 PM
  1. It's a strange world when a Democratic president does in six days what Republican governor could not convince a Republican president to do in four years of letter-writing, lawsuits and international embarrassment.

    Posted by ty January 26, 09 03:18 PM
  1. Funny ... GM and Ford sell high MPG cars in Europe, and have for decades. Ditto for pretty much everywhere else in the first, second and third world where fuel is expensive, and has been for some time.

    And RedSox13 ... you need to check out And really think about what you are saying. If this mystical 100+ MPG auto existed, decades ago, wouldn't someone have already put it up for sale to make more money? Or are the oil companies paying the auto companies billions of dollars every year to stop them from using this miracle technology? 50 million dollars is squat for enterprises like GM, Ford and Chrysler. They probably spend that much on coffee or toilet paper every year.

    Posted by J January 26, 09 03:29 PM
  1. 'It's stupid to allow individual states to set limits. That ought to make the auto industry more efficient. NOT. '

    This sort of thing has been done many times in the past, and it's pretty much always a success. Look up the 'California Effect'.

    In 1966, California set the first standards for hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions. It's uneconomical to make two different types of cars--one for California and one for the rest of the country--and California is big enough that you HAVE to sell to Californians. So, despite insistence that any new environmental standard is impossible to meet, the industry does.

    Refrigerator standards were pushed by California and the industry repeatedly insisted it would be IMPOSSIBLE to meet them. But California went ahead, and the result is that the average size the size increased over 10% while the cost dropped 50% and energy usage dropped 66%.

    Similar stories for the regulation/elimination of pesticides, ozone pollution, and phthalates.

    It works. We've seen it work many times in the past. That's what the opposition is afraid of: they know that letting California set their own standard is forcing the entire industry meet them.

    Posted by Luca Masters January 26, 09 03:52 PM
  1. Clifford -

    Thanks for responding, but I still think the basic point stands.

    If your point is that diesels do in fact cost more initially than gasoline powered models - well, they always have. The way it's always been explained to me is that the higher compression ratios require a much more robust engine and fun things like block heaters don't help either.

    However, putting an onus on "clean" diesel technology for increasing costs doesn't bear out when you do the math. Yes, the emissions equipment to trap NOx costs a bit more up front. But...engines cost an awful lot of money to design and eliminating the need to have two separate engine lines - one for Europe, another for ROW - would have every single manufacturer tell you that regardless of the upfront cost, over any reasonable length of time the build cost per car actually goes down.

    For the consumer, yes, you pay a little more up front and CDTI and others make some money. But...ULSD also has a massively higher cetane rating to the tune of maybe 30% (in English, the same thing as gasoline's octane) and if we were to get to Europe's 10 ppm diesel versus our new 50 you'd gain an additional 20% going from low-40s to mid-50 cetane. Thus, the "clean" diesel cars with better standards have been putting out some pretty amazing MPG numbers. At least with the German consortium, that added emissions technology gives an increase in fuel efficency because you actually hold some of the NOx emissions until you burn them off during another cycle, along with higher injection pressures. Longer term, you more than make up that up front investment, and given diesels happily run to 250k miles, that's a very long term.

    Does it balance out for the consumer? Diesel cracks are somewhat ridiculous, so you're paying $0.10-15 a gallon more than you would have before the $2-3 billion spent on refining upgrades (the industry likes to use $8B, but there was a ton of capacity additions and required turnarounds they threw in to inflate that number). But 10% higher prices for 15% higher fuel don' t need to include the nebulous math of "green" economics here. A CARB-spec, Tier II, Bin 5 Jetta TDI getting better mileage than a Prius (see: Popular Mechanics) more than balances out the upfront cost to a consumer, so if you don't talk about that when you talk about "more expensive" you're not painting a fair picture.

    I'm looking forward to replacing my Audi A6 with a TDI version of the A4 (once VW ports this to the luxury version of the Jetta) sometime soon, and I'd rather pay $2000 more for a diesel engine with 236 lb-ft of turbocharged torque than $10000 more for a hybrid engine with utterly no driveability. I also get $1300 of tax credits for buying it, so my net additional cost is $700. At 30+ mpg city versus 16-17 on my A6 (using 91 octane, 87 drops it to 15ish), I'll make that cost up in a year, maybe less.

    Thank you California; if we'd let Detroit set the rules I'd be stuck with sitting in the slow lane in a Ford Escape Hybrid. Command and control is only when you tell people how to meet standards, rather then let them come up with their own creative ways. It's taken a while, but the results so far are very promising.

    Posted by Harold S January 26, 09 04:00 PM
  1. It is really important to note that under the Clean Air Act, the 13 states mentioned beyond California would be required to adopt standards that are IDENTICAL to California's if they choose to be more stringent than the federal standard. The Clean Air Act (sections 209(b)(1) and 177 for those interested) allow's California to petition for a waiver to be more stringent than the federal standard, but only allows other states to be more stringent if they adopt California's rule. As a result, there are at a most two different standards, and this idea of a multitude of state regulations is an overstatement. While whether two is too many is a fair question, it is important to get the facts right. .

    Posted by Meghan January 26, 09 04:44 PM
  1. Wouldn't have to do it if the federal government would do it's job.

    Posted by Lucky Marbles January 26, 09 05:27 PM
  1. California has been doing this since 1966. It's nothing new. The car manufacturers were fine with it for years.

    I don't see how anyone in their right mind could be against this. Ok, I guess if you are a union guy or work for the big 3.

    Posted by Tyrion January 26, 09 06:54 PM
  1. If Obama is such an expert in automotive technology, why doesn't he go ahead and provide the automakers with his suggested designs?

    Obama is an arrogant idiot and this is going to be a disaster. Look for the price of new cars to skyrocket, and people to hang onto older, more polluting models even longer.

    Posted by Pro America Anti Obama January 26, 09 06:57 PM
  1. CARB is the biggest fraud around. Can anyone else explain why an aftermarket parts manufacturer has to spend thousands of dollars in testing to prove their devices don't increase emissions? This would include such radically new technology as cold air intake pipes......

    CARB exists to generate revenue for the State of California, not to reduce emissions.

    Posted by dave January 26, 09 08:15 PM
  1. And one notes that many of the 13 states have air quality issues:

    Two standards is not unreasonable; there's a reason California always had an exception and that reason now applies to more and more places: dense populations = more pollution.

    Posted by Rob Hagopian January 26, 09 08:28 PM
  1. Twodan says: "what would happen if the big 3 refused to sell vehicles for a year in cali?. i'm for clean air, but let's be real."

    Ummm, I'd say Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Volkswagen, Honda, Kia, etc would see a big jump in sales.

    The reason California has always been able to get away with this is because the Detroit Three need Californians more than Californians need the Detroit Three. At almost 34 million people, California has almost 10 million more residents than the number two largest state (Texas, with just over 24 million). That's a market that they can't ignore just to make a point.

    Posted by ErikYOW January 26, 09 08:45 PM
  1. I seem to recall that when Americans dreamed big and reached a little, lots of good things happened. Moon landings, defeat of Communism, toppling Hitler. That sort of thing.

    Nowadays, we seem to only find new ways to whine and complain.

    Posted by K January 26, 09 10:02 PM
  1. "what would happen if the big 3 refused to sell vehicles for a year in cali?. i'm for clean air, but let's be real."

    The other automakers from the rest of the world would find a way to comply and make nothing but money doing it. Get a grip on reality.

    Posted by NHViewpoint January 26, 09 10:37 PM
  1. Why are Obama & Co. always picking on the automotive industry? Why does everyone at the Globe and in the general public hate US car companies? The 'greenhouse gases' emitted by internal combustion are the equivalent of pissing in the wind in the grand scheme of world climate. 80% of human-generated greenhouse gases come from industrial sources, not vehicles. But, let's pick on cars because Al Gore wants us to, and he knows everything. All hail the Liberal Messiah & his Minions!

    Posted by Jimss January 26, 09 10:49 PM
  1. California's unique geography has always justified its right to set its own pollution standard. California has LA, which is unique in that it's a city of 14 million people in a bowl and nowhere for the pollution to go. The problem isn't because Angelenos drive more than other Americans (they don't). It really is the geography.

    If California did not have the right to set its own pollution standards, it would lack the basic power to ensure its citizens access to clean (i.e. not dangerously polluted) air. This need to ensure clean air for its citizens is balanced against the interstate commerce arguments in our current set of laws.

    It's also not true that states can simply set whatever standards they like. Only CA can set whatever standards it likes. Other states get to choose one of two standards. They can either choose the national pollution standards, or the California pollution standards. This limits the number of different standards to two --- which has proven to be quite workable for the auto industry.

    So... we already have two sets of pollution standards, which requires two sets of engineering. Adding CO2 limits to those sets of standards does not materially change the fact that automakers have to produce one set of cars for CA (and NY, CT, MA, etc -- which becomes a large fraction of the cars in the country) and another set for the rest of the nation. It's worked in the past, and it will work in the future.

    As for diesel cars... they will not solve our fuel economy problems. The reason is that every barrel of crude oil produces so many gallons of gasoline and so many gallons of diesel. There are fundamental chemistry reasons that this ratio cannot be changed very much. If we all switched to diesel cars, we'd end up with a lot of gasoline and nothing useful to do with it. In fact, that's already happening in Europe --- diesel cars are so popular there, they export their excess gasoline to the USA.

    Posted by Bob F January 26, 09 11:48 PM
  1. The best way to save low-volume sports car manufacturers is to replace CAFE (and other pollution laws) with a system of trading pollution credits. The Porsches of the world could then buy a few pollution credits from the Hondas of the world. Not a big deal.

    Probably the reason this was never done is the Big 3 would rather have an unfair advantage over the little guys, which CAFE certainly is. They can trade off Corvettes against Aveos, while Porsche is left out in the cold. And then they can use this unfair advantage as a way to argue against pollution laws --- since it would be unfair to their minor competitors.

    Posted by Bob F January 26, 09 11:55 PM
  1. Let's worry about the economy and get a recovery going before adding more difficulties for the auto industry!!

    Posted by jonas whale January 27, 09 07:22 AM
  1. tighten the emmissions.

    Period. It's time to start doing something. Now.

    This may spawn American automakers to start building competitive vehicles again.

    The future of the mass gas guzzlers is nearing it's end. They will always be around but fuel effeciency is the next wave.

    Posted by allie316 January 27, 09 08:51 AM
  1. Most of your automotive emissions come from older cars. How does tightening up new car emissions (at a cost) help compaired to having older vehicles have regular tuneups?(It's a bigger emissions gain) It's polically easy to tighten emission standards on new vehicles; far tougher to get people to do regular maintenance to their older vehicles. Most emissions come from natural causes. Why jump all over the small end of the problem and ignore the majority of the problem? Eliminating all new vehicle polution is just a drop in the bucket for transportation emissions.If you really want to help the environment, work on controlling volcanoes.

    Posted by Hondamatic January 27, 09 10:30 AM
  1. Isn't this the free market President Bush wanted? CA is the customer and is demanding a better product than what is currently available. If the feds don't want to regulate CAFE than I'm ok with that as long as they don't prohibit others from doing so. As for the question "what would happen if the big 3 refused to sell vehicles for a year in cali?" posted by twodan, I'm sure the Japanese auto manufacturers would be happy to meet the standard and take all the sales from the big 3. After all, that's a free market right?

    Posted by Anonymous January 27, 09 12:17 PM
  1. Cox should be impeached and prosecuted. It's short-sighted idiots like this who put the domestic auto industry in the toilet.

    Yes, Detroit can make Electric cars; easily, both all-electric and plug-in serial hybrid, plus serial hybrid trucks.

    They just don't wanna.

    And if the federal government is regulating commerce, why isn't it taking control of the NiMH battery patents from Chevron?? GM sold those patent rights to Texaco on Oct. 10, 2000; six days later, it became Chevron (Standard Oil of California). Under the guise of protecting its patent rights, Chevron funded a lawsuit aginst Toyota, which resulted in the end of NiMH all-eletric EV production. To this date, you can't use a NiMH battery in a plug-in car, that's why they are pretending to use Lithium.
    Doug Korthof 562-430-2495

    Posted by Doug Korthof January 27, 09 12:30 PM
  1. Mandating higher fuel economy and lower emissions is a politicians way of trying to make improvements to the nation's fleet on the road. As long as gas is cheap, larger vehicles will be preferred by the majority of the car buying public. They provide more flexibility for what you can carry and do - you just get more for your money. If CARB and our elected representatives really want to make an impact on MPG and emissions, we need to implement higher gas taxes. In that way, the market will dictate higher MPG and emission standards. The buying public would also be more inclined to trade in their older, less efficient vehicles because they could make a more reliable business case for themselves to do so.
    To address another point made earlier, sure the auto companies have technology and capability to make good, smaller cars and do sell them in Europe - but fuel costs A LOT more there because fuel taxes are MUCH higher. And, if you think about it, since fuel does cost so much more over there, don't you think that if the auto companies had this magic bullet MPG and Emissions technology hidden away because of cooperation with the oil companies - wouldn't they have all kinds of incentive to put it on the road in Europe and make crazy profits doing so? That's just a bit too much conspiracy theory.
    In the interest of full disclosure, I do work in the US auto industry as an engineer on hybrid vehicles - I just often check in with the site here to get my local news and sports fix. We don't have secret technology we're purposely keeping off the road. We would have been happy to have the old GM EV1 sell out and still be on the road. Problem was, battery technology hadn't caught up to the range that people need and GM couldn't sell near enough of these cars to be profitable at it. Didn't see any other company out there putting one on the road at the time either, did we? And what to do with the depleted Lead-acid battery packs at end of life at the time if it got to be a big fleet?
    In this industry, we've all been learning more as we invent every day. This stuff isn't easy - it's incredibly complex to make an electric or hybrid vehicle operate with no apparent difference in comparison to a non-hybrid and make it as efficient as it can be and compelling to our customers. We'll keep at it, and we intend to repay the LOANS the federal government has provided us - remember that in our case, we weren't just given the money like in the financial sector. We're supposed to pay it back, with interest - and that's what we're expecting to do.

    In the meantime, if you find yourself in the market for a new vehicle, and can find a financial company willing to extend you a loan, please at least have a test drive in a Chevy Malibu or Ford Fusion - give them a try before you discard the idea of setting foot in a US auto company dealer. You may find yourself surprised with the feautres, quality and value you'll find.

    Posted by PeteMI January 27, 09 12:50 PM
  1. As Bob F. and others have pointed out, manufacturers -- which include FOREIGN manufacturers, who don't seem to have complained nearly as much -- will have to satisfy a maximum of TWO standards, a more rigorous one for the states where most of the people live and a less rigorous one for where many of the whiners live.

    It's true that there will continue to be a lot of older cars on the road, so overall improvements will take a while. (It's also true that a lot of American car manufacturers have historically preferred to sit around and moan at being expected to do much voluntarily about safety, durability, fuel efficiency, etc. and have seen their customers vote with their feet. And having been left in the dust by competitors, have belatedly and begrudgingly come to their senses.)

    Following up from PeteMI, it IS true that American cars ARE getting better despite the manufacturers' complaints. My '99 Escort has 150,000 miles on it and gets about 31 mpg at turnpike speeds. If the manufacturers would spend less time and money bitching, and more time and money doing, maybe they would end up with less to complain about.

    Posted by EdA January 27, 09 02:29 PM
  1. Tighten the emmissions regulations and make all states accountable to the same standard. Enough of the auto makers telling us what they want, Look how well they ran their business'.

    Posted by darth vadar January 28, 09 12:44 PM
  1. I am impresed by HaroldS's comments and was struck by Meghan's observation that, as a practical matter, what this edict really results in, practically, is two different standards: the federal standard and the CARB standard (that all other states will merely adopt). I was concerned that we might see a patchwork of a number of different standards, but I think Meghan is right: other states are likely to merely adopt the CARB standard. I remained concerned, however, that they have the option to add on other volatle organic chemicals that are currently unregulated (don't know if they ought to be, but the cleaner the air, the better, imo). Aside from that, the removal of sulfur from diesel fuel is why diesel is currently so expensive, but that bottleneck ought to be removed as Exxon and other companies bring more refining capacity for ULSD online. The price ought to drop commensurately over time.

    All things considered, there is no question that diesel beats gas engines hands down for fuel efficiency, and they also beat all the other currently half-baked notions of "alternative enrgy transport" such as natural gas (and including fuel cells, which, on a mass scale, would require more platinum than the world's current inventory could ever supply or mine).

    Posted by itsjustagame January 28, 09 10:47 PM
  1. I have been watching the auto industry and oil giants for decades. They have had plenty of time to give us less toxic alternatives, but could never get off their greedy corporate "death trip." Well, their number is up, and I don't think much of the American public sees merit in their whining cries for bailouts and their indignant proclamations that low-emission cars have unproven benefits, etc. I grew up in Los Angeles. One look in the sky when I was a kid was all the information I needed to know that there was an issue. I am excited about all of the new independent EV companies and the prospects of a clean solar/wind, etc. type of grid. When/if the big manufacturers give us what we want, they will benefit. The workers putting in the new infrastructure will benefit. National security will benefit. The future will have a fighting chance against global warming, our children and their children will benefit. We need to MOVE ON! (like thirty years ago). This is what the California people want to take the lead on, and we WILL have our way. Just watch.

    Posted by Rex Bruce February 1, 09 10:27 AM

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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
In the garage: Hyundai Sante Fe, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
In the garage: 1968 Buick Riviera, 1996 Buick Roadmaster, 1974 Honda CB450
Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
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George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
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