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Commentary: Electric cars, the AQMD and other bad ideas

November 13, 2012|By Chuck Cassity

Do you know who, or what, is behind the AQMD? If you're from Southern California, you're likely aware that this bureaucratic acronym stands for the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Sounds innocuous, right? It's anything but.

These are the un-elected cronies of various cities and counties in our piece of the once-Golden State. They are current or former members of the Assembly or Senate. They are highly placed political insiders. They are well-connected types who wrangled high-paying jobs just to mess with our puny, unimportant little lives.

There are 13 members of the Board of Governors of the AQMD, and together they decide whether or not the air is dirty, and if so, what's causing it, and then whether to go after the purported culprits with their full power and authority. They can tell us to stop whatever they think we're doing that they've decided is bad. And if we don't stop, they can fine us. Or imprison us.

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In short, there's basically no upper limit to their power. And, once again, they are appointed!

State air-quality regulators just passed sweeping new auto emission standards that include a mandate to have 1.4 million electric and hybrid vehicles on California roads by 2025. That coincides with the EPA's new fuel mileage rules mandating a CAFÉ (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standard of 56.5 mpg by the same target date. The AQMD Board unanimously approved the new rules that require that one in seven new cars sold in the state in 2025 be an electric or other zero-emission vehicle!

The plan formed by these ivory tower pinheads calls for a 75% reduction in smog-forming pollutants by 2025 and a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emission from today's standards. Easy for them to say. Hard for them to do. I might mention that today's standards for vehicle emissions are 1,000 times more stringent than those in effect in 1974.

According to Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the AQMD's Board of Governors, "Today's vote…represents a new chapter for clean cars in California and in the nation as a whole. Californians have always loved their cars. We buy a lot of them and drive them. Now we will have cleaner and more-efficient cars to love."

There's only one problem. The technology to develop such vehicles does not exist. And, according to automakers, including "Government" Motors, it's not likely to exist 12 short years from now Mary seems to think she can force it into existence by simply mandating it.

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