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 next generation of advanced, clean cars into the driveways of California families will save consumers money, reduce air pollution, and support new jobs and investment in the state’s clean energy economy.
The Campaign is presently urging the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to negotiate new carbon pollution and federal mileage standards with the Federal government that are tough enough to continue propelling the clean economy forward, that will prevent pollution and will protect public health. Fuel economy standards and environmental standards generally have been very effective in accelerating technological advancements. For example, the standards that went into effect earlier this year for inefficient incandescent bulbs.
The Sacramento Bee (one of California’s leading newspapers) has already gone on record supporting CARB’s efforts in the negotiations. What follows are some of the arguments the Campaign is making to other newspapers and thought leaders.
This week, our nation’s future vehicle emissions and fuel economy standards are being debated in high-level meetings in Washington. Representatives from the White House, the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the California Air Resources Board (ARB) are putting the final touches on proposed new passenger car and light-truck standards for 2017-2025 model-year cars that will be announced this fall. The decision-point is right now.
In many ways, ARB holds the keys to the negotiations. For the last 40 years our state has led the nation by enacting strong, health-based emissions standards while the federal government stood by. If the current federal negotiations result in strong standards that are sufficient to protect Californians, ARB has said it will accept national standards. But if the negotiations fail to produce sufficiently stringent standards, ARB has the authority under the Clean Air Act to enact its own, more stringent, standards – and may do so this fall. If car companies want a single national standard badly enough, they need to agree to one that meets California’s needs. General Motors (GM) for one 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 of California 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 of vehicles is being developed, thanks to our state’s leadership.
More than 90 percent of Californians live in areas with unhealthy air according 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 emissions and promote zero emission vehicles could prevent more than $7 billion annually in healthcare and societal costs as well as hundreds of hospital visits, heart attacks, early deaths and thousands of asthma attacks every year in California.
Strong standards for new cars sold in California will not only reduce air pollution, they will also lower consumer costs, bring jobs and investment to California’s clean tech economy and encourage automakers to build the advanced clean cars Californians want to drive, according to a recent Next 10 study.
As local governments across the state struggle to maintain basic services and restore their financial health, cleaner cars help in two ways: they deliver direct jobs to California’s growing clean transportation sector and help people spend less on fuel, giving them more to spend locally at shops and restaurants, which also helps the local tax base.
The vehicle innovations that are exciting consumers around the globe today – battery electric cars, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles – all came 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, new technologies will take longer to develop and bring to market.
You can help make clean cars a vibrant part of our economy by endorsing the Campaign 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 CAFÉ standards negotiations, please write your local newspaper and ask them to editorialize in support of CARB’s efforts. For more information on advanced clean cars, see CARB’s clean car portal.