California air regulators have released a final proposal on regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions from passenger cars and light trucks beginning in 2009, reported the Associated Press on August 9, according to Weststart/Calstart. California Air Resources Board (CARB) staff submitted a series of technology packages that regulators said could result in reduced emissions – 25 percent for cars and light trucks, 18 percent for larger trucks and sport/utility vehicles in the initial phase – and more efficient vehicle operation when used together. Among the technologies the board staff cited as providing “significant reductions in emissions at favorable costs” were improvements in air conditioning systems, more efficient transmissions, and smaller engines. “All automakers use these technologies today in Japan and in Europe,” said Jerry Martin, a spokesman for the Air Resources Board. While the proposed regulation sets the emissions level for new cars, there is no requirement for automakers to comply with any of the suggested changes, said Russell Long, executive director of Bluewater Network, a San Francisco-based environmental group. The proposal stems from a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Fran Pavley, signed into law by former Governor Gray Davis in 2002, that requires the board to set emission standards limiting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Proponents hope the first-in-the-nation global warming regulations will prompt similar steps in other states, but automakers have threatened to sue over standards they say should be set by the federal government. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has expressed support for the law, and has pledged to fight any lawsuits brought by automakers. Environmentalists say it could also be challenged by the federal government, which has jurisdiction over setting fuel efficiency standards.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials