A California car soldiers on as emissions battle looms


What a nice Friday afternoon,

The family’s 2003 Honda Accord continues to stick around.

The coupe is now considered an antique by the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles. It isquick, corners well and gets more than 25 miles a gallon. It survived an encounter with a snowbank with one dent and only has a single rust spot.

It is also a California car that still carries a low emissions sticker on the side window, defying the conventional wisdom at the time that low-emissions vehicles were sluggish and unreliable.

Many years ago, Delaware, like many of its pollution challenged neighbors, adopted Cali emissions standards that improved the air in the nation’s most populous state.

This week, the Trump administration voidedCalifornia’s waiver from national standards, setting the stage for a legal battle. Talks with the administration on keeping the waiver broke down earlier this year. Some automakers came up with a separate deal with California an arrangement is now being investigated for antitrust violations.

Here’s the viewpoint of one group supporting the action.

The argument is that one national standard will reduce the costs of vehicles by allowing automakers to deal with one standard. When you add in states like Pennsylvania and New York about 40 percent of the nation’s vehicles are Cali-compliant.

Their claim makes sense until you consider that automakers work years in advance in coming out with vehicles. Scientific American notedin a story that any savings would take hold down the road.

Also, there is little evidence that tougher fuel and emissions standards have left us with sluggish, underpowered vehicles. Automakers must live in world markets that are demanding less pollution.

Currently, our roads are populated with plenty of high-powered muscle cars with obnoxious mufflers, jacked-up pickups that could kill on contact and hulking SUVs with drivers who love to tailgate.

A press release from the EPA lauded the move and took swipes at California’s overall air quality.

The decision clearly raised the ire of Delaware U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. Carper spent much of his career as state treasurer, governor, congressman and senators working to save the state’s two auto assembly plants that finally hit their expiration date in 2009. He also championed the use of California emissions standards.

Carper’s shop issued a lengthy release questioning the wisdom and legality of the move.

Auto and truck makers have been quiet regarding the action and will take a wait and see attitude, knowing that the final chapter on this story has yet to be written. Meanwhile, our California-complaint Honda soldiers on.

Enjoy your weekend and let’s hope the injury-depleted Eagles can get past the Detroit Lions.

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