CARB's cleaner car rules make sense
Consumers Union is the public policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports.
To the Editor:
The editorial on the new California Air Resources Board rules to promote cleaner cars questioned whether consumers will buy them ("Calif. still has no business dictating technology," Feb. 6).
We have found that Californians do want cleaner choices. A recent Consumer Reports survey of California residents found that 75 percent agreed that the state should require automakers to build more zero-emission vehicles.
And it's not just Californians. A national Consumer Reports survey found a majority (56 percent) of consumers would consider a hybrid, electric or hydrogen fuel cell for their next vehicle. Seventy-two percent would consider purchasing one over the next 15 years.
While cleaner vehicles tend to cost more upfront than their gasoline counterparts, the fuel savings are expected to outweigh the additional cost. The CARB rules are expected to save $3 for every $1 invested.
The editorial also criticized the CARB rules for setting specific targets for production of electric and fuel cell vehicles.
For efficiency's sake, the fueling stations for electric and fuel cell vehicles should be built and standardized at the same time those cars are being delivered. Private and public investment in the fueling stations won't happen without the delivery of vehicles, and vice versa.
That's why we think the CARB rules provide a sound, sensible approach that will help consumers have real choices to clean up the air, save on fuel costs and reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil.