CARB Adopts Emissions Rule for Light Trucks

New light trucks, SUVs and passenger cars starting with model year 2009 will be equipped with greenhouse gas reduction technology in California— at least, according to a rulemaking by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) on Friday.

The rule, if it survives almost-certain litigation from the auto industry, sets limits on the amount of greenhouse-gas emissions from ’09 autos and light trucks. The average reduction of greenhouse gases from new California cars and light trucks will be about 22% in 2012 and 30% in 2016, compared to today’s vehicles, CARB said.

The added technology needed for each vehicle to meet requirements is expected to average $325 per vehicle in 2012 and $1,050 in 2016.

If the rule sticks, not only will California, the nation’s largest auto market be affected, but New York and many of the New England states are expected to consider adopting the rule as well.

“The (CARB) staff analysis concludes that the new rule will result in savings for vehicle buyers by lowering operating expenses that will more than offset the added costs of the new vehicles and provide an overall cost savings to consumers,” CARB stated.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers disagrees, estimating the technology will add at least $3,000 to the cost of new cars. Additionally, AAM said that the rule would result in “no identifiable change in temperature or climate in California.”

The industry trade group accuses CARB of imposing a state fuel economy standard, which it is prohibited from doing under federal law.

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