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United States Technology

Green Cars You Can't Buy 528

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-can't-handle-the-lack-of-pollution dept.
Geoffrey.landis writes "Auto industry blogger Lawrence Ulrich notes that Honda is now making a "Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle" (or PZEV for short) version of the 2008 Accord, an all-new vehicle that is redesigned to meet California emission standards. He notes "So, just how green is a PZEV machine? Well, if you just cut your lawn with a gas mower, congratulations, you just put out more pollution in one hour than these cars do in 2,000 miles of driving." But the irony is that it's actually illegal for automakers to sell these green cars outside of the special states they were designed for! Apparently, anybody selling one of these ultra-green vehicles out of the correctly-designated venue — which means either California, or seven northeast-states with similar pollution laws — "could be subject to civil fines of up to $27,500. Volvo sent its dealers a memo alerting them to this fact, noting that its greenest S40 and V50 models were only for the special states.""
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Green Cars You Can't Buy

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  • Partially Zero? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 427_ci_505 (1009677) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:52AM (#20465883)
    What the fuck does that even mean?
    • by archen (447353) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:57AM (#20465963)
      and more importantly, can you divide by partial zero?
      • by multipartmixed (163409) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:22PM (#20466421) Homepage
        > can you divide by partial zero?

        Of course you can. That's the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus.
      • by Kohath (38547) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:26PM (#20466471)
        Yes, but only a little bit.
      • by hublan (197388) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:57PM (#20466999) Homepage

        and more importantly, can you divide by partial zero?
        Yes, but you get a semi-infinite. Unless you divide zero by a partial zero, at which point the result is slightly undefined.
    • Because the car is partial. Why do you think it has zero emissions?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by fractoid (1076465)
        So you're saying that the part of the car not consisting of engine and tailpipe produces zero emissions? Genius!!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      From the PZEV article [wikipedia.org] in wikipedia:

      The vehicles constructed to meet the PZEV requirements are called Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (SULEVs). Various techniques are used to reduce pollution in these vehicles. In order to qualify as a PZEV, a vehicle must meet the SULEV standard and, in addition, have zero evaporative emissions from its fuel system plus an extended (15-year/150,000-mile) warranty on its emission-control components, which incidentally covers the propulsion electrical components of a hybrid

    • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:01PM (#20466043)
      Well, it's a bit like fuzzy logic. When a zero is sufficiently large, it's almost as much as a little bit of one.
    • Partial zero emission vehicle means that during some portion of time while the vehicle is operating, it does not produce any emissions. Example: The Toyota Prius is a PZEV because when the engine is off and it is operating on its electric motors, it is operating and not producing any emissions. Note that not all hybrids are PZEVs because with some the engine runs constantly.

      PZEV is becoming one of those buzzwords that journalists like to latch onto. It's meant to simplify what is being talked about

      • by PJ1216 (1063738) * on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:21PM (#20466407)
        PZEV doesn't actually imply at times it gives off zero emissions, it implies that it gives off zero evaporative emissions. So, while it doesn't give off zero emissions, it does give off zero emissions of a specific kind. SULEV is an equivalent term (Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PZEV [wikipedia.org].
      • by Albanach (527650) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:22PM (#20466417) Homepage

        Partial zero emission vehicle means that during some portion of time while the vehicle is operating, it does not produce any emissions.
        I think you might be wrong here. I have a 2.3L Focus outside that has PZEV stickers on it, and I'd hazard a guess that the only time it doesn't produce any emissions is when the engine is turned off.

        The PZEV actually means that for some of the many types of emissions normal combustion engines make, these cars have zero emissions. PZEV vehicles have zero evaporative emissions from the fuel system, but PZEV doesn't address things like CO2 emissions. Hence they are partially zero - zero in some areas, not zero in others.

        A Prius is an AT-PZEV because it sometimes runs with a standard combustion engine and therefore faces all the normal emissions such an engine would produce. To further enhance its green credentials, Toyota made the combustion engine meet the Californian PZEV standards.

        The article itself is a bit misleading. A PZEV vehicle can be sold outside the listed states, it just can't be marketed as such, as this would also mean it offers other things such as an enhanced emissions warranty for 150,000 miles. So my Focus would be a PZEV vehicle if I'd bought it in California. Having bought it elsewhere it has exactly the same engine but without the warranty advantages.
      • by rrkap (634128) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:32PM (#20466561) Homepage

        Partial zero emission vehicle means that during some portion of time while the vehicle is operating, it does not produce any emissions. Example: The Toyota Prius is a PZEV because when the engine is off and it is operating on its electric motors, it is operating and not producing any emissions. Note that not all hybrids are PZEVs because with some the engine runs constantly.

        No, it doesn't. PZEV is a California Air Resources Board designation that means that the vehicle has extra pollution control equipment that allows it to produce very low smog forming emissions and is counted as a partial vehicle toward meeting California's Zero emissions vehicle mandate.

        The way that this odd name came about is that in the 1980's (If I remember correctly) California created a regulation that a certain percentage of all vehicles sold in the state would have no smog-forming emissions). Car makers responded by objecting, suing and by building electric vehicles (remember the EV1 of "Who Killed the Electric Car" fame). Unfortunately, because they couldn't come up with battery technology that was good enough to make a competitive car, automakers went to CARB (the Califoria Air Resources Board) and offered to produce conventional vehicles with MUCH better emissions control, which would reduce pollution more than the EV mandate would have at a drastically lower cost. CARB agreed and designated these vehicles PZEV's. Since California, alone among U.S. states has the authority to independantly set emissions standards, which then can be adopted by other states, California terminology spread to other states which follow California regulations, which led to PZEV's in other states.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Red Flayer (890720)

        As if someone wants a 4WD vehicle in which they would have to wait 30 minutes for the front axle to start pulling.

        Ah, you whippersnappers. I recall having to flip a control switch on the dash to get a truck into 4WD. Prior to that, I recall having to stop my truck, get out, lock the drive mechanisms via the hubcap, walk around to the other side of the truck, and, get this, lock the drive mechanism for the other front wheel.

        Anyway, I digress. Here [4x4abc.com]'s a link that describes 2WD and 4WD terms without spin --

    • by niola (74324)
      lol and to think in school I was taught that you cannot divide by zero...
    • by Eudial (590661)
      300 g/km co2

      See, it's partially zero... ;-)
    • You are right! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by WED Fan (911325) <akahige@NospAm.trashmail.net> on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:15PM (#20466271) Homepage Journal

      Partially Zero?
      What the fuck does that even mean?

      You're right, lets not discuss the assinine laws that prevent green vehicles from being sold in all locales. Let's, instead, get picky over a term. That's more important, isn't it?

    • by Tribbin (565963) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:38PM (#20466653) Homepage
      "Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle"

      You have to take it into context.

      It obviously means that part of the car has no emission.

      With today's technology they can easily make a car have only emission from the exhaust.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm totally screwed. I live in a red state.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:57AM (#20465961)
    I RTFA and the author fails to tell why it's illegal in most states. Just dangles the fact that it is in front of us.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dragonfly (5975)
      IANAEnvironmentalL, but my guess is that the law is intended to work in the opposite direction (levying fines against anyone trying to sell a car that doesn't meet CARB standards in a CARB state) and was worded vaguely enough so that it also ended up applying to selling CARB-compliant cars anywhere else.

      But since the author of the article decided that citing the specific statute wasn't necessary it's hard to say for sure.
  • Need more information. Maybe I just dont understand why you can't sell a "green" vehicle anywhere?
    • Yes this is shotty reporting even for MSNBC. Where is the Report from the people who charge these fines Why are they charging fines. As of right now this is just yellow journalism reporting meant to stir the blood and get people angry without knowing why. Because even if we did go and yell at the states that disallow these cars what law is preventing it? Is it just the automakers not filling out the correct forms that don't require these cars to be sold or is it something more?
    • by magarity (164372)
      Because you didn't RTFA:
      Under terms of the Clean Air Act--in the kind of delicious irony only our government can pull off--anyone (dealer, consumer, automaker) involved in an out-of-bounds PZEV sale could be subject to civil fines of up to $27,500
      • Clean air act (Score:3, Informative)

        by benhocking (724439)

        Under terms of the Clean Air Act--in the kind of delicious irony only our government can pull off--anyone (dealer, consumer, automaker) involved in an out-of-bounds PZEV sale could be subject to civil fines of up to $27,500

        The clean air act [epa.gov] is mighty large, but I don't see this in there. I tried various searches on Google including site:http://www.epa.gov/air/caa/, but no hits on "27,500", "27500", or even "fines". Seems that by "civil" they mean "invented".

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PPH (736903)
      I'm just guessing here, but: The manufacturers made a deal to produce a limited supply of these vehicles with the several states mentioned. It is in the interest of these states to keep these vehicles within their borders so they reap the benefits of their operation. In order to ensure that they do remain where sold, they enacted legislation (or terms in the sales contracts) imposing this requirement.
  • Folgers? (Score:5, Funny)

    by MajinBlayze (942250) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:58AM (#20465979)
    Ah, the smell of technology innovation being stifled by stupid legal action in the morning.
    • Smells like sucker (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Shihar (153932)
      Mmm, what is that smell? Smells like a dumb reactionary that believes everything he reads on the internet, even when it doesn't even begin to cite a source. If you believe uncited unexplained claims, then you are just acting like a dumb sucker. I am pretty sure nowhere in any states law does it say, "You can't sell low emission cars 'cause the corporations, big oil, Iraq, Haliburton, and George Bush 666 Ahahaha!".

      This discussion has over 300 posts and yet no one has found a single law to explain that stu
  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:59AM (#20465993) Homepage Journal
    One thing to remember is that much of Europe has various cars that have diesel (and bio-diesel) engines that are not licensed for sale in the US.

    And even the so-called plug-in hybrids (which I love) that will be sold by GM and Ford etc will be in such short supply that production until 2012 will be so minimal it's unlikely you'll be able to get one.
    • I would kill for a decent recent diesel car over here in the states. Modern diesel engines are way more efficent then hybrids for a cheaper price. I still don't get why they are not common place over here. I assume because people still think of them as a enviromental disaster ....
      • by Zelos (1050172) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:06PM (#20466135)
        Don't forget that diesel is denser, so you can't compare MPG with petrol really. A 50MPG diesel emits more CO2 than a 50MPG petrol car.
        • by gnasher719 (869701) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:35PM (#20466615)
          >> Don't forget that diesel is denser, so you can't compare MPG with petrol really. A 50MPG diesel emits more CO2 than a 50MPG petrol car.

          Could be true, but there are many more 50mpg diesels than 50mpg petrol cars. And a 125g/km diesel emits less CO2 than a 150g/km petrol car. And at the same time, the Diesel engine gives you much more power at lower speed (that is, everything up to the speed limit :-)

        • by QuantumRiff (120817) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @01:05PM (#20467151)
          Yes, but a 50Mpg diesel is a Volkswagon Jetta, wheras a 50MPG gas car is a old Geo Metro. The diesel has a hell of a lot more power. A better comparison would be to compare the same car... Ie, a 17MPG Jeep liberty with its 3.9L engine, or a 30MPG Jeep liberty 2.4L Diesel (that they only produced for 2 years in limited quantity, when will they bring them back???) There is more CO2 in a gallon of diesel, but in the same car, the diesel will get you almost 2 times as far, so unless it has 2 times the CO2 per gallon (it doesn't) diesel is the better choice. Then you get into the fact that diesel uses much less "refining", so less energy and chemicals to create it. Or the fact that the engines last much longer, and are simpler, so less waste from the cars "wearing out" and getting replaced, etc...
          • by Cadallin (863437) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @02:27PM (#20468363)
            You forgot yet another one: Diesel engines are easier to run off of non-petroleum derived fuels. In fact, they were designed to! The 1900 World's Fair featured a diesel engine running on Peanut Oil! The sturdy construction and glow plugs of diesel engines even today are artifacts of the diesel engine being designed to run on virtually any properly filtered oil of the correct viscosity.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by tcoop25 (808696)
            The reason why car companies can't sell diesels in the US is because our emissions regulations are a lot more strict. This is why your Jeep Wrangler diesel is no longer produced. I deal mostly with industrial diesel engines, which have a seperate emissions guideline, but diesels will soon be FAR cleaner than gas. In 2011 the air coming out of a diesel engine exhaust pipe will be cleaner than the air outside. This is done with many systems (at serious cost increases to the OEM/customer). There are parti
        • by flyingfsck (986395) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @01:16PM (#20467325)
          Also bear in mind that UK gallons are much larger than US gallons!
    • Almost ALL of those euro diesel cars have less emissions than some of the best american gasoline cars.

      I's purely politics. The Smart is safe as hell as-is but the Morons at the Govt make them put in useless safety crap and jacks the price up to insane levels so nobody buys them.
  • Don't Get it? (Score:4, Informative)

    by GoodOmens (904827) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:59AM (#20466005) Homepage
    The article seems to contradict itself ... Not only can't you buy one, but the government says it's currently illegal for automakers to sell these green cars outside of the special states. Under terms of the Clean Air Act--in the kind of delicious irony only our government can pull off--anyone (dealer, consumer, automaker) involved in an out-of-bounds PZEV sale could be subject to civil fines of up to $27,500.

    then ...

    It's not all the fault of the car companies. The crazy quilt of environmental regulations is forcing carmakers to design and build two versions of the same cars. And it costs real money to make a car this green. So in states where there are no regulations to force their hand,automakers don't want to have to boost their prices for the green versions--or to simply eat the extra cost and make less profit.

    It DOES sound like the fault of the automaker. If they don't have to sell a cleaner car in other states why should they?
  • Um... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by richdun (672214) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:00PM (#20466019)
    So my 2004 Prius has a big sticker on the rear, driver's side window that says "PZEV," indicating that it is a Partial-Zero Emission Vehicle per the standards. Does this article imply that Toyota has been breaking the law selling the Prius around the nation, or are there different versions of the Prius that are "clean" and "cleaner"? It mentions Toyota and the Prius, but doesn't make the connection that the Prius is also a PZEV.
  • by sheldon (2322) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:00PM (#20466023)
    Just like the beef packer down in Kansas who wanted to test all of their cows for mad-cow disease, so they could be certified to ship beef to Japan. The USDA rightfully shut them down, because it would have been unfair competition, giving these guys a competitive edge over everybody else in the market.

    If they let Honda sell near zero emissions automobiles in states where it's not mandated, that might put pressure on everybody else to also make near zero emissions cars, and that's just not fair!

    So we should all thank our friends in the Government, for helping ot insure that competition in the marketplace does not create unfair competition.

    Sometimes you can't tell spoof from reality. :-)
    • by pzs (857406) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:16PM (#20466305)

      So you have to maintain a pure capitalist model for health-care even though it's really inefficient, but if you try to do that for cars you get punished? I know cognitive dissonance in government is common, but this is mental.

      Does anybody else wonder whether the US government has been taken over by somebody (possibly giant alien lizards [wikipedia.org]) who are deliberately trying to ruin the country? I honestly can't see how they could do a worse job if they tried. It's even more amazing how much congress and the senate sit back and watch them piss all over 50 years of dominating the world, pushing the nox button on the hand-basket heading towards hell.

      As a Brit, I feel grateful that our Empire went out in a blaze of glory. Yours is just imploding. My sympathies.

      Peter

      • by kindbud (90044) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:42PM (#20466721) Homepage
        Does anybody else wonder whether the US government has been taken over by somebody (possibly giant alien lizards) who are deliberately trying to ruin the country?

        The Republican party believes government is incompetent to provide many basic public services and therefore underfunds it and runs it incompetently in order to prove their point.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by jd (1658)
        I know cognitive dissonance in government is common, but this is mental.

        After they closed many of the mental hospitals in America, they had to put the more dangerous lunatics somewhere, and they're far less of a threat to ordinary citizens being locked up in Congress than allowed out on the streets.

        As for the giant alien lizards, I have to disagree. Deranged creatures from the corridors of time [bbc.co.uk] seem much more likely.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Blakey Rat (99501)
        So you have to maintain a pure capitalist model for health-care even though it's really inefficient,

        Ok, most people would say our system is inefficient because it's nothing close to a "pure capitalist model." Not even remotely close to one; the government interferes on every level.

        As a Brit, I feel grateful that our Empire went out in a blaze of glory. Yours is just imploding. My sympathies.

        Dude, you guys were beat by Ghandi. GHANDI!
        • by sheldon (2322)

          Ok, most people would say our system is inefficient because it's nothing close to a "pure capitalist model." Not even remotely close to one; the government interferes on every level.

          If healthcare was purely capitalist, the doctors, pharmacists, insurance companies and so on would be acting for the benefit of the consumer.

          But that means curing people. There's more money to be made in treating symptoms. And don't you dare try to change that! You'll be called anti-business for trying to cut into their profi

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cloricus (691063)
      What really scares me is that it wasn't till the last two words in your second last line that my brain finally choose the 'yeah, this is a joke' side of the fence to fall on. And I'm a rather smart chappy. Maybe you americans have finally gone mad and instead of waiting for another funny and witty show like MASH we should just all watch your nightly news shows around the world for a laugh. :)
  • by purpledinoz (573045) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:04PM (#20466083)
    For some reason, I don't think we're getting the full story here. Usually, there's at least some sort of somewhat-logical reasoning behind something like this. Anyone know the full story? Or is this an example of the rampant corruption that plaguing the US government?
  • So... Why not? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by faloi (738831) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:04PM (#20466091)
    Apart from a little snippet about how it's because of the Clean Air Act, why can't auto makers sell those cars outside of special regions? I'm having a rough time coming up with concrete specifics about the assertion.
  • Stop it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Oswald (235719) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:05PM (#20466101)
    Just stop talking about this fucking article. There's a reason nobody can figure out what is going on here, and the reason is shitty reporting. If the idiot writer can't make any more sense than this, ignore him and wait for somebody with a clue to cover the story.
  • by Yath (6378) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:05PM (#20466105) Journal
    Right, "Green Cars Automakers Won't Sell You". Possibly the most misleading headline you'll see all week.

    These vehicles are heavily subsidized by the states where you may sell them, and they're interested in getting their investment back. California lays out wads of cash for some cleaner vehicles, so California wants them driven in California (for example; there are several other states involved). The automakers are not allowed to sell them anywhere else. It's that simple.

    If these vehicles were produced without subsidies, they'd be so expensive that no one would buy them. Lawrence Ulrich seems to think that automakers should make a highly expensive clean-burning vehicles on their own and sell them at a loss, perhaps so they can go out of business in two or three years.

    At least Slashdot used a non-misleading headline instead. Kudos for that.
    • by Overzeetop (214511) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:20PM (#20466371) Journal

      Lawrence Ulrich seems to think that automakers should make a highly expensive clean-burning vehicles on their own and sell them at a loss, perhaps so they can go out of business in two or three years.
      Actually, I believe the US automakers are trying something along those lines, just without the "clean-burning" bit.
    • But waitaminute... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by maillemaker (924053) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:39PM (#20466657)
      Look, if Californians want to state-subsidize cleaner automobiles, that's fine.

      But how does letting other people buy the same kind of car in other states hurt their investment? The people of California would /still/ get to buy cleaner cars. And in fact, if other people could buy them, too, maybe the price would go down and California would not have to subsidize them so heavily.

      Now I could see California saying they will only pay a subsidy for cars sold IN California, which would mean they would cost more in other states that don't subsidize. But I don't see why they would care.

  • ... you cant buy one :)

    Vincent Price's Orphan Powered Death Machine has zero emissions too; it does not exist.
    Or does it..?
  • Plug-in Hybrids (Score:2, Informative)

    There is enough capacity [groovygreen.com] in the grid today that if 70% of all cars and trucks were electric, they could be charged overnight without the need for adding a single new power generation unit. It's time for a revolution, an ELECTRIC REVOLUTION!!!

    Laws that inhibit good and desirable behaviour, are bad laws. No other way to say it.

    • One caveat is that the electric transmission capabilities are not up to the task of something like this. Yes, in theory there is sufficient power generation capacity, but moving there isn't a strong enough transmission infrastructure to move this capacity around to where it would be needed. That's one of the reason there's so much extra generation capacity to be found.

  • Zero is absolute (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JoeInnes (1025257)
    You cannot have something that is partially zero. Zero is an absolute. This is like saying that something is "partially complete". Partially complete is management speak for incomplete, partially zero is management speak for not zero. More advertising bollocks.
    • by netsavior (627338)
      except when emissions are a function of time.
      lets take a 3 second "timeline"

      Second 1 - .005 cu feet CO2
      second 2 - 0 cu feet CO2
      second 3 - .005 cu feet CO2

      one out of every 3 seconds has ZERO emissions. So the vehicle is a PARTIAL Zero Emissions vehicle.
  • Could we get a TINY bit more info? Do those cars fail to pass certain regulations in those states? Or does the government in some mind-twisting plot try to use this as some kinda statistics comparision thingie (i.e. do "green" cars actually cause an affect, a statistic that would of course be tainted if the cars could drive anywhere)?

    Before I put on my tinfoil hat, does anyone have a bit more info than "must not sell them there"? "Why" is the only really interesting question (most of the time it is), and if
  • That this retarded restriction only applies within the US's jurisdiction?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wile_e_wonka (934864)

      Am I right in assuming that this retarded restriction only applies within the US's jurisdiction?
      Is there any other jurisdiction? I'm pretty sure there is nothing outside of the US's jurisdiction.
  • The article seems somewhat poorly written, but the /. summary says this:

    it's actually illegal for automakers to sell these green cars outside of the special states they were designed for

    I see no reason why it would be illegal under any state or federal law to sell a car that has super-low emissions. The end of the article implies that the manufacturer doesn't want to sell cars with the low-emissions hardware outside the states with strict emissions laws because 1) it increases the cost of the car, and 2) t

  • I'm going to call BS on this article. Every single story I can google takes this as the original source for the claim that PZEVs are illegal under the Clean Air Act, and there's no link to any government or advocacy website (you would assume environmental groups would be up in arms.)

    One possible reason this is BS: the Clean Air Act is a Federal act, so can not vary from state to state?

    One possible reason for the confusion: modifying the emissions control on your own car is illegal under the CAA, but t
  • by rabtech (223758) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:14PM (#20466265) Homepage
    This is slightly misleading, in that the law only says the vehicles manufactured for special markets must be limited to those special markets (for what byzantine reason I have no idea).

    There is nothing preventing the car makers from releasing the same vehicles into all the other markets; they don't because the cars cost a little bit more ($150-$400 according to the article), but still get the same MPG even if the tailpipe emissions are almost nil. They don't believe consumers will pay the premium so they don't bother.

    In other words, the manufacturers are free to produce the same exact car but instead of stamping "CALIFORNIA ONLY" on it and being unable to sell it outside that designated market, they can just sell it everywhere with no problem.
  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:24PM (#20466447) Homepage
    This article makes no sense. The writer describes these amazing new super-efficient cars but doesn't say anything about what makes them clean, other than saying that they don't get good gas mileage. Huh? Then he talks about the Toyota Camry Hybrid's 32 mpg as though that was amazing. Then he talks about how these cars can't be sold elsewhere, but doesn't cite the law that says so or give any reason why. There may be a story behind all this, but it isn't in this article.
  • No Less CO2 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kramer2718 (598033) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:28PM (#20466493) Homepage
    According to the article:

    Well, if you just cut your lawn with a gas mower, congratulations, you just put out more pollution in one hour than these cars do in 2,000 miles of driving.


    But also:

    The PZEV cars don't get any better mileage than conventional versions.


    This is quite telling. If the PZEV cars get the same fuel efficiency as conventional vehicles, then they are consuming the same amount of carbon and putting the same amount of CO2 into the atmosphere.

    So how can they be less polluting than a lawn mower? The article must NOT be including CO2 as a pollutant (the same view the Bush administration took of the Clean Air Act). So these vehicles probably emit less sulfur and nitrogen compounds and particulates, but the same amount of CO2.
  • by Cato (8296) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:41PM (#20466713)
    This article completely ignores the fact that these are gas-burning cars that create just as much CO2 (it mentions they get the same gas/petrol mileage as non-PZEV cars). Localised pollution is in some ways a good thing to reduce global warming, although bad in more general sense, simply because this pollution reduces the amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the Earth (aka global dimming, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_dimming [wikipedia.org], but note that there are some interactions between global warming and dimming).

    Anyway - pretty pointless concentrating on the less important pollutants rather than on those that may irreversibly change the earth's climate through global warming...

    You may now waste lots of time trying to convince me that global warming doesn't exist or is not caused by human activity. (FX: rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.)
  • by TibbonZero (571809) <TibbonNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:49PM (#20466849) Homepage Journal
    I rented a Zipcar [zipcar.com] the other day, which just happened to by a Subaru Outback PZEV [subaru.com]. Didn't even notice it until I was loading some stuff in the trunk and thought, "How can it be partially zero? Sounds like a marketing term for low ". Anyways, the car was fine, but I didn't know how rare they are. Zipcar is good service, and they always seem to be trying to get greener cars. They've got a few dozen Prius's in Boston and a few Hybrid Escapes too. Only thing I noticed (I haven't driven an outback before this) is that the car had little 'omph'. Not that any car needs it, but when I tried to push it down the Jamaica Way, it didn't kick like a Mini Cooper even would have (nor did it hold the corners) but it's a station wagon so I didn't expect it to.
  • by BanjoBob (686644) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @02:38PM (#20468499) Homepage Journal
    State governments don't want fuel efficient cars. Even some cities and counties are having conniption fits over it. Alternative fuel vehicles and alcohol burners don't pay as much, if any, fuel tax. Governments want that money!! If you start buying less gas, governments get less money. So, while the politicians speak out one side of their face that they're for a greener environment through more fuel efficient cars, better look at those crossed fingers behind their backs. Governments have even gone after people who build their own 100% ethanol vehicles to pay gasoline taxes. In Oregon, for example, they want to start taxing by the mile because of dropping fuel tax revenues. Ah, what a game these pols play with our money.

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