The California Air Resources Board (CARB) will be meeting tomorrow to consider relaxing regulations concerning automakers manufacturing zero emission vehicles. Under current regulations, the Big 6 automakers including Volkswagen, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are mandated to produce 25,000 zero emission electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell cars between 2012 and 2014.
Between 2015 and 2017 these same automakers are required to build 50,000 of the same vehicles. The new proposal will let carmakers substitute 90-percent of the zero emissions vehicles with low-emissions vehicles. Presumably, this will include plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, cars with hydrogen internal combustion engines and CNG vehicles.
Many environmentalists see this strategy as letting the automakers off the hook when it comes to zero emissions vehicles. In a rare pairing (since they are most often at odds) electric car advocates and hydrogen fuel cell vehicle advocates are in a agreement concerning this issue.
Chelsea Sexton from Plug-In America (remember her from “Who Killed the Electric Car?”) is calling for people to write CARB Chairperson Mary Nichols to let her know that loosening up regulations is not a good idea.
Perhaps sending a Youtube video of the Antarctica ice shelf, the size of Connecticut, breaking off and hitting the headline news yesterday will be a persuasive tactic as well. While there is a need for here and now solutions such as more low-emissions vehicles hitting the marketplace, it is also important to not stall development on zero emissions vehicles as this is the ultimate solution in regard to saving our environment.