California’s new plan for slashing climate pollution from new cars is a bold move for the nation’s most populous state. But not surprisingly, as the New York Times reported today, automakers have been working on weakening the measure—with some success. Under a revised plan, the industry would have a longer timeline to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 30 percent.
Still, it’s a first step toward the kind of reductions that we need to make. And, as we mentioned before, it might provide a juicy opporunity for the Northwest. If Northwest states sign up for the California air plan (California has its own Clean Air Standards to which other states can opt in), they’ll enjoy greater fuel conservation, reduced gasoline imports, and attendant economic benefits. Even better, the joined forces of California and the Northwest might provide enough market leverage to fuel more-efficient engine designs in Detroit.