Hopefully, it’s not like “deja vu all over again” as Yogi Berra might say in regards to California suing automakers to clean up their acts in the Golden State. Yesterday, California’s Attorney General Bill Lockyer filed suit against DaimlerChrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Nissan and Toyota for emitting 30-percent of the state’s greenhouse gases through their automobiles, trucks and SUVs.
The six automakers are accused of pumping 289 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually, creating a public nuisance and having a negative impact on the environment, agriculture and public health. Apparently, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t want any part of this either as a couple of sources are reporting that he has dumped his fleet of gas-guzzling Hummers, which emit three times more carbon dioxide than other cars.
But, one has to wonder at the timing of the lawsuit announcement. With elections coming up is this just another ploy for votes? Or, could this be like the electric car debacle where California is choosing once again to use a stick instead of a carrot to try to whack the automakers into falling in line with an unrealistic time-frame for meeting clean air standards?
When General Motors launched its electric car in the late 1980’s, California closely followed on its heals to announce its Zero Emissions Vehicle mandate putting forth an overly aggressive time-frame for automakers to cut emissions. The automakers rebelled. Last week General Motors announced it will be rolling out 100 Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell hydrogen vehicles in 2007 and this week GM and the other big automakers (all of whom are developing hydrogen cars) are being sued.
Hopefully, the sequel to “Who Killed the Electric Car?” is not “Who Killed the Hydrogen Car?” as no one will benefit from this scenario. Not even Yogi Berra.