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Environmental concerns hijacked?

Written by maryp posted on Monday, June 11th, 2007

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I know everyone is pretty busy these days, but you may want to pay attention to what is happening in our great State of California regarding the California Air Resources Board, aka CARB, and their regulations. As of last week, the Federal efforts to increase the gas mileage standards are being rebuffed by California, and now it’s looking like a power play amongst the politicians, EPA and CARB.

CARB has a budget of about $313 million this year alone, and it’s going to be even higher next year. This gives them plenty of resources to expand their “powers” and regulations. The potential impact on you, the consumer, could be very noticeable and perhaps in ways you did not expect.

If your car needs a Smog Test, if you receive or use any goods and services that are transported via a diesel vehicle, or if you are buying a new motorcycle or a new car, you will probably see increased costs that are a direct result from CARB. It’s not reasonable to add new regulations and think that it’s not going to affect costs or livelihoods. Even CARB will need to add employees to manage these new regulations.

Take a minute, (sorry, it will be longer than a minute), and read the CARB ISOR 2006-12-7 (Initial Statement of Reasons), for the planned Extension of Emission Warranty Parts. There are a lot of ideas (which is appropriate), but not a lot of science, (inappropriate), and a lot of contradictions.

Then, read The Rand Report, “The Impact of Extended Vehicle Emission Warranties on California Independent Repair Shops.” This report was sponsored by CARB. It’s estimated that, only 3% of the independent shop’s revenue will be lost! (But, CARB will need 2 new positions and an additional increase of $200k per year!) You as a consumer may have less options when it comes to where to take your vehicle for repair. The summary of the report is a warning to consumers and fairly insulting to most in the automotive field. The full report is even more interesting. It explains the report involved a survey of about 366 people in our state in year 2001 and their automotive repair habits, as well as a about 48 shop owners and 26 dealerships. The old vehicles, (some circa 1986), involved in the study don’t have much relevance when it come to the PZEV’s, or the car repairs being done in 2007 and the future.

CARB would love for all of us to be driving brand new vehicles, (with 0 emissions), which sounds great. However, it is not realistic for most of the households in our beautiful state.

I guess there is no pollution that is created when manufacturing a new car? or crushing the old one? or hey, driving 2 places to get your car “smogged”. For example; you have been directed by the State to a “test only” station and then you have to drive again, to a smog/repair station, (if does need repairs to pass the smog test). Is that about cleaner air? Where is the common sense?

Not trying to sound preachy here, but when it comes to “green”, be informed and try to make some responsible choices on a day to day basis, (while you still have a choice).

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