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Old September 13th, 2007, 01:13 PM   #1
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Default Vermont Supreme Court CO2 ruling

Court Roils Auto-Rules Debate
The Wall Street Journal

By Mike Spector and Jeffrey Ball

Sept. 13, 2007

A federal judge's ruling that Vermont can limit greenhouse-gas emissions from cars and trucks will have national implications in the intensifying debate over fuel economy and global warming.

Federal District Judge William K. Sessions III rejected automakers' arguments that Vermont's auto-emissions law amounts to a backdoor state attempt to regulate automotive fuel economy a power that under federal law is reserved for Washington. The judge's reasoning: The Vermont law's impact goes beyond fuel economy to cover other areas, making it more than a fuel-economy mandate.

The ruling could have repercussions nationally, but is likely to draw an industry appeal.

California , a national environmental bellwether, is in similar litigation over its attempt to require cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions from automobiles sold there. The ruling in the federal district of Vermont would appear to give California momentum. Judge Sessions wrote he "remains unconvinced automakers cannot meet the challenges of Vermont's and California's" greenhouse-gas rules. Still, a federal judge in California could decide that case differently.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said the Vermont ruling "marks another important victory in the fight against global warming. California and other states that want to take aggressive action will no longer be blocked by those who stand in our way."

More broadly, the ruling is likely to increase pressure on Congress to toughen federal fuel-efficiency rules, known as the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards and to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from sectors beyond autos. The auto industry argues against sharp changes in those rules, saying they would hurt the industry. But a potential patchwork of differing state rules bearing on fuel economy could prove even costlier for the industry, and could push it to soften its stance in Washington.

California has special dispensation under federal law to enact emissions rules that are tougher than the federal government's, a nod to California's record of dirty air. Other states can replicate California's standards. But California first must get a federal waiver, and its latest request is pending. Because Vermont's effort is an extension of California's, the Vermont court decision could be rendered moot if California doesn't get its waiver. Meanwhile, other states are hoping to follow California's lead all told, about a third of the nation's auto market.

Automakers argue that overly aggressive mileage rules would force them to build smaller vehicles that consumers won't buy. The industry is considering appealing the Vermont decision, said Dave McCurdy, head of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the industry's main Washington lobbying group. "Federal law is designed to ensure a consistent fuel-economy program across the country."

Kevin Holewinski, a lawyer at Jones Day in Washington who defends companies in global-warming suits but isn't involved in the auto-related litigation, took issue with the ruling and predicted the industry will appeal it. "The state's overstepping its authority," he said, agreeing with the automakers' argument that the Vermont law amounts to a state fuel-economy mandate even if it also has other environmental effects. "Suggesting that there are these collateral consequences, I think, quite frankly, is wholly beside the point," he said.

A spokeswoman for the White House Council on Environmental Quality said the Bush administration's "relevant agencies are reviewing this decision." She cited recent moves by the administration to curb automotive gasoline use.

Matt Pawa, a lawyer for environmental groups that joined Vermont in defending against the industry's lawsuit, said the ruling represented a "great victory for global warming, Vermont, the planet, California and the auto industry."

Governors of 13 states that plan to implement the California greenhouse-gas rules issued a letter yesterday to the chief executives of the top six automakers by sales in the U.S., calling on them to stop suing to block regulations.

The Vermont regulations would increase mileage steeper and faster than measures that are being considered in Congress. Regulating tailpipe emissions effectively forces automakers to improve mileage, since greenhouse gases are produced when vehicles burn fossil fuels such as gasoline.

Congress, meanwhile, is considering legislation that would force automakers to achieve an average of 35 miles a gallon for their fleets of cars and trucks over the next decade or so, as much as a 40 percent increase over current standards but less aggressive than the rules states are pursuing. The Bush administration is fast-tracking similar new rules for year end.

At the heart of the Vermont and California disputes is whether a state law limiting greenhouse-gas emissions from automobiles is tantamount to a fuel-economy standard.

Judge Sessions ruled that though carbon dioxide, which is produced by burning fuel, "represents the bulk" of greenhouse-gas emissions from autos, Vermont's rules "embrace much more than a simple requirement to improve fuel economy, cloaked in the rhetoric of reducing carbon dioxide emissions." He explained that automotive air conditioners also produce greenhouse gases that would be regulated by the Vermont law. He also rejected automakers' arguments that the Vermont law would cost too much. "History suggests that the ingenuity of the industry, once put in gear, responds admirably to most technological challenges," he wrote.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 01:18 PM   #2
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What a blow.

My boss was an expert witness for the Automotive Alliance. They thought they were gonna win that one.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 01:32 PM   #3
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Thank a tree hugger... If they force car makers to produce smaller vehicles, people will just revert to buying more used older cars vs. new. That defeats the purpose by having older cars on the road longer, spewing even more crap into the air.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 01:51 PM   #4
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The Vermont regulations would increase mileage steeper and faster than measures that are being considered in Congress. Regulating tailpipe emissions effectively forces automakers to improve mileage, since greenhouse gases are produced when vehicles burn fossil fuels such as gasoline.
oh damn that's gonna suck hard! i want vehicles to get terrible mileage so i have to pay out the ass at the pump because the oil companies are in bed with the auto industry....
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Old September 13th, 2007, 05:46 PM   #5
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Good think I already bought my motorcycle. I can't wait to see the jump in Bike prices if all this goes through.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 06:01 PM   #6
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oh damn that's gonna suck hard! i want vehicles to get terrible mileage so i have to pay out the ass at the pump because the oil companies are in bed with the auto industry....
Your missing the point, You want 40mpg, we can do it, BUT, your not going to pull your Jeep behind it. Fuel economy is directly related to mass. To many buyers want heated and cooled seats, power this and that, stereo, CD, MP3, 5 star crash ratings, 25 air bags, multi valve engines, turbo's, superchargers, big fat stick tires, 4WD, etc..., AND not lose any fuel economy. It's just not going to happen. As an example, which do you think will wear you out quicker, carrying a 100 lb pack up a hill or not? No different for a car. How many Aveo's and Honds Fit's, and that goofy looking Scion B do you see on the road?

What's even more assinine is people who think the auto companies have this magic 100 mpg fuel system out there that they just don't want consumers to have.
Shit, If any manufacturer had a fuel system that got that fuel economy don't you think they would have buyers from everywhere clammoring for it? They could sell 10000000000000000X of them, and make buko $$$$$$$$$.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 06:10 PM   #7
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Shit, If any manufacturer had a fuel system that got that fuel economy don't you think they would have buyers from everywhere clammoring for it? They could sell 10000000000000000X of them, and make buko $$$$$$$$$.
jim-kb8ymf
Why? You can sell more gas this way.


I don't thin that they would have buyers clamoring for them. case in point, VW TDi, they get 50 mpg, but they are rarer than hell.


But if they were required to meet standard on fuel efficiency, then, I guess the public will get what they get.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 06:14 PM   #8
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Why? You can sell more gas this way.
How do you figure? If I drove to work each day and I got 20 mpg why would I use more gas if I got 100 mpg?



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I don't thin that they would have buyers clamoring for them. case in point, VW TDi, they get 50 mpg, but they are rarer than hell.
Why do you think? Maybe the supply and demand thing is worknig here? Who want's a diesel that can't haul a dam thing?
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Old September 13th, 2007, 06:19 PM   #9
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How do you figure? If I drove to work each day and I got 20 mpg why would I use more gas if I got 100 mpg?






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More gas the way it is . . . stay on topic!
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Old September 13th, 2007, 06:51 PM   #10
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Why? You can sell more gas this way.


I don't thin that they would have buyers clamoring for them. case in point, VW TDi, they get 50 mpg, but they are rarer than hell.


But if they were required to meet standard on fuel efficiency, then, I guess the public will get what they get.
it absolutely astonishes me how fucking clueless some people are

(and why does it always seem like their usually liberal?)
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Old September 13th, 2007, 08:32 PM   #11
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How do you figure? If I drove to work each day and I got 20 mpg why would I use more gas if I got 100 mpg?





Why do you think? Maybe the supply and demand thing is worknig here? Who want's a diesel that can't haul a dam thing?
jim-kb8ymf
yes, i'm saying you can sell more gas the way things are now.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 08:33 PM   #12
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Why do you think? Maybe the supply and demand thing is worknig here? Who want's a diesel that can't haul a dam thing?
jim-kb8ymf
a majority of the cars on the roads are NOT tow rigs.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 09:23 AM   #13
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No, you aren't goin got get 40mpg and tow your jeep, but you can have light trucks and SUVs in the mid 20s that could tow a reasonble load.

I see the legistation as inevitable, and not necessarily a bad thing.

1)curb the unnecessary creeping weight gain and capacity gain of each successive launch.

2)Increase the number of diesels

Thats really all thats needed. The rest of the world does it.

2 liter diesels can make 150+ hp and 230+ ft-lbs of torque
3 liter diesels can make 250+ hp and 450+ ft-lbs of torque
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Old September 14th, 2007, 09:33 AM   #14
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No, you aren't goin got get 40mpg and tow your jeep, but you can have light trucks and SUVs in the mid 20s that could tow a reasonble load.

I see the legistation as inevitable, and not necessarily a bad thing.

1)curb the unnecessary creeping weight gain and capacity gain of each successive launch.

2)Increase the number of diesels

Thats really all thats needed. The rest of the world does it.

2 liter diesels can make 150+ hp and 230+ ft-lbs of torque
3 liter diesels can make 250+ hp and 450+ ft-lbs of torque
i agree with H a g g a r. he probably doesn't like that.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 10:24 AM   #15
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i agree with H a g g a r. he probably doesn't like that.
I don't really care one way or the other. I'm stating my opinion, and experience it looking first hand whats out there in the automotive world.

Its time that this country quits lagging the rest of the world.
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