The state Air Resources Board adopted the world's toughest anti-smog standards Thursday for new cars and small trucks sold in California.
Thousands of tons of smog-forming hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide will be eliminated from California's dirty skies as the new emission standards are phased in gradually between 1993 and 1995.The decision not only tightens existing clean air rules in California - the only state in the nation to have its own auto emission standards - but also doubles the enforcement life of the standards to ensure that cars do not begin polluting as they age.
Automakers said the plans are too ambitious and rely upon little-tested technology. The new anti-smog devices will raise the price of each car sold in California by several hundred dollars, car makers told the board.
"We believe the staff report paints an overly optimistic picture of the technology available to meet the proposed standards," said Gordon Allardyce, an engineer with Chrysler Motors Corp.
"Failure to achieve the standards would subject manufacturers to unreasonably high potential liability risks for warranty claims and recall repairs," Allardyce said.
Under the rules adopted by the board, all new 1995 model cars sold in California must emit fewer than 0.25 grams of hydrocarbon per mile driven and fewer than 3.4 grams of carbon monoxide. California now allows hydrocarbon emissions under 0.41 grams per mile and carbon monixide at 7 grams per mile.
The new rules will surpass federal standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency and be tougher than anti-smog restrictions anywhere in the world, said Bill Sessa, spokesman for the state Air Resources Board.
"We've continued to set a precedent for the strictist emission standards in the country," he said.
The standards will be phased in beginning with new car models in 1993, when 40 percent of all new cars sold in California will have to meet the new levels. In 1994, 80 percent of the new cars will have to comply.
Older model cars will not be forced to comply with the new standards.