The Supreme Court has ruled that California can set tougher tailpipe emission standards for cars, light trucks, and sport utility vehicles, than what is already required by the federal Clean Air Act, writes the Associated Press
California has had special authority under the federal Clean Air Act because California began to regulate pollution in the 1970s, before the federal government got involved, but the new ruling allows them to instill even stricter emission standards.
California is currently the world’s 12th largest producer of greenhouse gases, and officials hope that the tougher standards will help California get back down to 1990 emission levels by 2020.
There is dispute over the ruling however. An attorney for the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers interprets the Supreme Court ruling as a directive that greenhouse gases regulations should be set at the federal level, and the auto industry has filed a lawsuit to prevent California from deviating from the federal emission standards.
The lawsuit is currently being heard by the federal court in Fresno, Calif.
The tougher auto regulations could help California reach about 17 percent of its target level of 1990 emissions, according to the California Air Resources Board.