California Emissions Waiver Looms for Carmakers

Barack Obama is expected to allow California and other states to enforce tough air quality rules soon after taking office.

Published: 20-Jan-2009

If the auto industry thinks it has problems now, wait until Barack Obama takes the wheel.

Not long after assuming the presidency, Obama is expected to grant a waiver allowing California and more than a dozen other states to enforce their own greenhouse-gas emission standards on autos.

That would completely change the landscape for vehicle regulation and obligate automakers to produce cars that are far more efficient than those called for under current federal standards -- an average of 3 miles per gallon more by 2015, and 7 mpg more by 2020, according to some calculations.

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