California, Exercising Abundant Caution, Delays Cool Cars Rule

On Thursday, the California Air Resources Board (ARB), exercising abundant caution, decided to delay requirements to implement so-called “Cool Cars” technologies, choosing instead to fold the rule later into its more comprehensive vehicle climate change program (known as the Pavley standards) scheduled for adoption later this year.  Cool Cars technologies are an important, extremely cost-effective strategy for the state to meets its global warming reduction goals. Very simply, cool cars technologies are off the shelf window technologies already widely used in Europe and in some vehicles in the U.S. that will keep your car interior cool, thereby reducing fuel use and global warming pollution from air conditioning use.

As with every new technology there are potentially winners and losers. And as with just about every meaningful pollution standard, not surprisingly some manufacturers less willing to innovate chose instead to fight the standards, spreading misinformation regarding one of the window technology's impacts on electronic signals. CARB worked diligently to address concerns and to separate truth from fiction, spending hundreds of staff-hours to respond to every argument, collect data and perform tests, and to make substantial modifications to their proposal to accommodate concerns, including the allowance of non-reflective alternatives to be used. We concluded that the CARB’s final proposal could be implemented while maintaining safety. One only need to look at the millions of vehicles manufactured in Europe over many years using solar reflective technology without issue.

NRDC, like the ARB, believes safety is extremely important. But too many times in the past, industry has put false choices in front of the public. CARB’s process, to objective eyes, demonstrated that safety and cool cars go hand in hand. While disappointed that the implementation of these common sense technologies have been delayed, we look forward to working with stakeholders to address any legitimate concerns as the program moves forward.