California Offers Change in Car Rules

ARB rule changes would let carmakers sell more hybrids and fuel cell vehicles starting in 2005.

Published: 06-Mar-2003

AMENTO, March 5 — California is seeking to compromise with automakers by dropping a requirement that they sell electric cars, the state's latest attempt to persuade carmakers to end their opposition to the program.

The California Air Resources Board outlined proposed changes to the zero-emission vehicle program today that would let companies sell more gasoline-electric hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell autos instead of battery-powered cars starting with 2005 models, a spokesman, Dimitri Stanich, said.

Last year, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler, joined by the Justice Department, won a federal injunction temporarily blocking the board from enforcing the program. It requires that 10 percent of cars sold in the state by the six biggest automakers emit almost no pollution. A district court in San Francisco is expected to rule on the suit this month.

"We're encouraged that with these proposed revisions C.A.R.B. is working toward improving California's air quality while allowing manufacturers to use different technologies to meet the state's goals," a Chrysler spokeswoman, Kathy Graham, said.

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