New Television Ads Ridicule Automakers' Fight Against Clean Cars

California Spots Chide Companies Resisting Solutions that Cut Emissions, Save Money

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (May 10, 2002) -- A new television ad begins airing today in California using humor to spotlight a serious issue: Auto companies' fierce opposition to cleaning up tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide, the pollution that causes global warming. The spot depicts a family in a car showroom, where a slick salesman tells them they can't have the modern, clean car they asked for because the car companies won't make it.

Auto companies are fighting efforts to clean up carbon pollution, using a battery of doomsday claims. Their protests echo the resistance in response to many other important safety and environmental standards that motorists now take for granted.

"Automakers have been crying wolf about safety and environmental standards for 40 years, on everything from airbags to the most basic smog controls," said Ann Notthoff, NRDC California Advocacy Director. "Every time we try to clean up tailpipes, auto companies say it can't be done. California drivers deserve the freedom to choose the cars and trucks that they want without all the pollution."

For example, carmakers claimed the cost of complying with California's successful Low Emissions Vehicle standards would be nearly $800 per vehicle, but the actual cost turned out to be about $80. And despite auto industry protests, California has cut smog-forming pollution from passenger vehicles by over 90 percent, without restricting vehicle choice or reducing sales (indeed SUV sales are at an all time high).

"Each time we set a standard the car companies have managed to meet it safely and affordably," said Notthoff. "We can do the same with global warming pollution. The technology exists today to clean up carbon pollution in cars and trucks of all sizes, and they should be using it."

Global warming poses costly threats to California, particularly the state's water supply and coastal areas. Warmer temperatures also increase smog formation, reversing years of progress on cleaner air. Three quarters of Californians think the state should be doing more to address global warming, and 70 percent support new laws to cut automotive global warming emissions, according to a February poll by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin and Associates.

Broadcast quality video and audio available.

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, non-profit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 500,000 members nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Related NRDC Pages

California's Clean Car Legislation