California Gov. Gray Davis plans to sign a bill into law July 22 that environmentalists say will reduce global warming and that the auto industry says is a camouflaged attempt to regulate fuel economy, something only thefederal government legally can do, according to a USA Today
story by James R. Healey.The governor's signature will ignite yetanother furious battle between the auto industry and the environmental lobby over how much cars and trucks can be improved without boosting prices too high for buyers. The auto industry is expected to sue to stop enforcement of the law, citing the fuel-economy argument.Automakers already have temporarily halted full enforcement of California's zero-emissions,electric-car mandate by convincing a federal judge that parts of it amount to back-door fuel-economy regulation.The new law directs the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to come up with rules by the end of 2005 that "achieve the maximum feasible reduction of greenhouse gases" beginning in 2009. The main greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide, and the only way to reduce emissions of it is to burn less fuel.