Friday, November 04, 2005

Vermont Adopts New Rules to Cut Car CO2 Emissions

Vermont on Wednesday approved stricter standards for vehicle emissions to reduce greenhouse gases, leading five other Northeastern states working on the same rules.

The changes by the Legislature's Administrative Rules Committee means that all 2009 and later model cars sold in Vermont will be required to meet higher fuel efficiency standards to reduce emissions such as carbon dioxide.

New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut and Rhode Island also have been moving to adopt the new carbon-reduction rules to keep pace with California.

California is the only state that can create emissions standards stricter than the federal government's, but other states can follow California's example.

When California beefed up its rules to take aim at carbon dioxide, the Northeastern states that had followed its previous rules had to either make the same changes or fall back to the federal standard.

Car makers have sued in California to overturn the new rules. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers has argued that changes will add about $3,000 to the cost of a car.

Environmentalists counter that the increased costs are more like $1,000 per car, an amount easily offset by lower fuel costs. They also note that a number of car models on the road today meet the new standards.

"It's smart environmental policy that's good for consumers. This is a perfect example of where we should be," James Moore, clean energy advocate with the independent Vermont Public Interest Research Group.

Gov. James Douglas said the state's efforts to improve air quality -- along with its natural beauty and quality of life -- will help recruit new businesses.


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