Massachusetts Adopts Global Warming Standards for Cars and Light Trucks

The rules are modeled on first-in-the-nation standards adopted by California in 2004, and they will require approximately 22% reductions in global warming pollution from automobiles by 2012 and 30% reductions by 2016.

Published: 01-Jan-2006

BOSTON - Massachusetts today took the final step in enacting new regulations limiting global warming pollution from cars and light trucks. The move means Massachusetts is joining California and a group of northeast states in acting to address a problem largely ignored by the federal government.

Secretary of State William Galvin published the new regulations in the Massachusetts Register, formally adopting limits crafted by the state Department of Environmental Protection over the last several months. The rules are modeled on first-in-the-nation standards adopted by California in 2004, and they will require approximately 22% reductions in global warming pollution from automobiles by 2012 and 30% reductions by 2016.

The rules are the result of a 1990 clean air law that requires the state to adopt strict pollution standards for cars and trucks.

"Really the legislature gets credit for this, not the Governor," said Frank Gorke, Energy Advocate for MASSPIRG. "He's just doing what they told him to do, which is to protect public health and the environment by adopting the strongest available clean air standards for cars and trucks."

Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey have also adopted the same limits. In those states, there is no similar law in place.

"This is an important step to reduce pollution, and it's good for consumers," added Gorke. "Adopting the global warming standards is expected to benefit the Massachusetts economy, because the standards will create modest operating cost savings for new car models, meaning that consumers will have more money to spend in the local economy instead of at the gas pump."

Technologies to reduce global warming gases are already being used in some models and can be used on any car model. The current generation of hybrid-electric vehicles—such as the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic—are approximately 90 percent cleaner than today's average vehicle and are approximately 30 percent more efficient at using gasoline.

Scientists project that average temperatures in Massachusetts could increase two to ten degrees over the next century if no action is taken to reduce global warming emissions. In Massachusetts global warming could lead to hotter and more intense summer smog seasons, more intense storms and hurricanes, increased coastal flooding and beach erosion, and ecological changes throughout the state.

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