Clean Cars and the Clean Economy
It is my privilege to represent Applied Materials as one of four co-chairs of the California Clean Cars Campaign. The Campaign’s diverse members believe that bringing the nextgeneration of advanced, clean cars into the driveways of Californiafamilies will save consumers money, reduce air pollution, and supportnew jobs and investment in the state’s clean energy economy.
TheCampaign is presently urging the California Air Resources Board (CARB)to negotiate new mileage standards with the Federal government that aretough enough to continue propelling the clean economy forward, that will prevent pollution and will protect public health. Fuel economystandards and environmental standards generally have been very effective in accelerating technological advancements. For example, the standardsthat went into effect earlier this year for inefficient incandescent bulbs.
The Sacramento Bee (one of California’s leading newspapers) has already gone on recordsupporting CARB’s efforts in the negotiations. Here are some of thearguments the Campaign is making to other newspapers and thoughtleaders: “This week, our nation’s future vehicle emissions and fueleconomy standards are being debated in high-level meetings inWashington. Representatives from the White House, the federalEnvironmental Protection Agency, the National Highway Traffic SafetyAdministration and the California Air Resources Board (ARB) are puttingthe final touches on proposed new passenger car and light-truckstandards for 2017-2025 model-year cars that will be announced thisfall. The decision-point is right now.
In many ways, ARB holds the keys to the negotiations. For the last 40years our state has led the nation by enacting strong, health-basedemissions standards while the federal government stood by. If thecurrent federal negotiations result in strong standards that aresufficient to protect Californians, ARB has said it will accept national standards. But if the negotiations fail to produce sufficientlystringent standards, ARB has the authority under the Clean Air Act toenact its own, more stringent, standards – and may do so this fall. Ifcar companies want a single national standard badly enough, they need to agree to one that meets California’s needs. General Motors (GM) forone has already gone on record stating it could meet a 56.2 mile per gallon standard.
Bringing the next generation of advanced, clean cars into the driveways ofCalifornia families will help to reduce air pollution and protect public health, save consumers money, reduce our dependence on oil, and support new jobs and investment in California – where the next generation ofvehicles is being developed, thanks to our state’s leadership.
More than 90 percent of Californians live in areas with unhealthy airaccording to the American Lung Association State of the Air Report. Research conducted by the American Lung Association in California demonstrates that stronger state standards that cut vehicle emissionsand promote zero emission vehicles could prevent more than $7 billionannually in healthcare and societal costs as well as hundreds ofhospital visits, heart attacks, early deaths and thousands of asthmaattacks every year in California.
Strong standards for new carssold in California will not only reduce air pollution, they will alsolower consumer costs, bring jobs and investment to California’s cleantech economy and encourage automakers to build the advanced clean carsCalifornians want to drive, according to a recent UC Berkeley study.
As local governments across the state struggle to maintain basic servicesand restore their financial health, cleaner cars help in two ways: theydeliver direct jobs to California’s growing clean transportation sectorand help people spend less on fuel, giving them more to spend locally at shops and restaurants, which also helps the local tax base.
Thevehicle innovations that are exciting consumers around the globe today – battery electric cars, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles – allcame about because of California’s leadership. We need to keep pushing – it’s good for California, and good for the auto industry, too. Without strong policies and enforceable benchmarks that drive innovation, newtechnologies will take longer to develop and bring to market.
Youcan help make clean cars a vibrant part of our economy by endorsing theCampaign and signing up for regular updates. Visit the California Clean Car Campaign’s web site and click on “Take Action.” If care about the outcome of the CAFÉstandards negotiations, please write your local newspaper and ask themto editorialize in support of CARB’s efforts. For more information onadvanced clean cars, see CARB’s clean car portal.
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