Washington State Adopts California's Stringent Emission Rules
SEATTLE, WA – Washington state officials have approved legislation adopting California’s tougher emission standards, including future caps on greenhouse gas emissions, according to Waste News magazine.
Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire signed the legislation May 6, saying it would produce cleaner air and reduce gasoline use by requiring that cars and light trucks sold in the state in the future meet stricter auto exhaust standards.
"Motor vehicles are the largest source of air pollution in our state," Gregoire said. "With this legislation, we are taking a significant step in reducing pollution, and we will gain the added benefit of promoting fuel-efficient vehicles that save money for consumers at the gas pump."
California’s current low-emission vehicle standards require that new cars sold in the state reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons beyond federal standards. Eight other states have adopted the California standards, and the state of Oregon is discussing similar standards.
California plans to phase-in caps on greenhouse gas emissions beginning with the 2009-model year. Greenhouse gas emissions would be 30 percent less by 2016, according to California officials. Cars sold in Washington would not have to comply with California standards until at least the 2009-model year. The actual timing depends on when Oregon adopts the standards.
Once the new standards are in place, Washington plans to eliminate annual emission testing in five counties that currently require it.
The National Environmental Trust, an environmental advocacy group, said Washington State’s actions highlight a trend among governments to address global warming issues.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents nine automobile manufacturers, is legally challenging California’s effort to mandate greenhouse gas reductions. The association has argued that improving fuel economy is the only way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and that only the federal government has the authority to set fuel-efficiency standards. It also has argued that California’s new greenhouse gas standards could add thousands of dollars in cost to cars without any health benefits.
Washington’s Gov. Gregoire said fuel economy savings would more than offset the possible increased costs for purchasing cleaner cars.
The legislation in Washington State discourages residents from buying cars out-of-state by requiring that an out-of-state vehicle must be driven 7,500 miles prior to being registered in Washington.