The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is looking to finalize its “Cool Cars” policy this Thursday (** this was corrected from original blog that said “Wednesday”**), once again putting regulation before reason and imposing knee jerk command-and-control mandates with no regard for economic impacts and, in this case, public safety.
Here’s the nickel tour:
CARB’s “Cool Cars” policy was set up in 2009 as an AB 32 early action item to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by reflecting heat away from cars, thereby requiring less air conditioning and less fuel.
CARB originally tried to ban dark colored vehicles. That didn’t fly with the public, auto dealers, manufacturers and anyone else who breathes in California. Whew.
CARB then focused on a policy that mandated a reflective layer in all car windshields by 2012 and all windows by 2016. They did this before any analysis on economic or safety impacts and without regard for alternatives with similar emission reductions.
Policies like this require extensive research to ensure proper benefit with the least amount of economic burden. Over the past few months important information and data on these two fronts has emerged from the Wireless Association and the Auto Alliance that prove that the proposed “Cool Cars” policy creates:
- A substantial economic burden (costs 2 and a half times more than CARB reported)
- A serious concern about public safety because of negative effects on GPS ankle mechanisms and less cell phone 911 call completion
- Overall administrative nightmares for any system using toll road and bridge transponders
Even when presented with these problems and new information on better alternatives, CARB is still unwilling to budge and provide any flexibility or necessary changes in the regulation.
The ultimate absurdity of “Cool Cars” is that the policy discourages new green tech and innovation in our automobiles. Solar absorptive technology incorporated in windshields is an alternative approach and is 90 percent as effective in reducing the build-up of heat in a vehicle. This technology has none of the negative outcomes of the proposed “Cool Cars” regulations. Further, there is a decent chance this less costly and more efficient technology (along with other alternatives) could be adopted nationally or semi-nationally, meaning larger emission reductions countrywide.
CARB in the end wants it one way. Their way. CARB is going it alone, ignoring the studies and contributing to what the Orange County Register called in a November editorial, “Sacramento’s caricature of bumbling, well-intentioned, paternalistic nonsense”.