A resounding Bravo to President Obama for his decision to reverse the Bush policy of disallowing individual states to set higher-than-federal emissions standards.
Although critics argue that allowing states to set their own standards will lead to multiple variations of each car model which will directly lead to higher production costs, I say hogwash. First, foreign and domestic car manufacturers will be subject to the same standards, so they will still be on equal footing. Secondly, if various models are truly a problem, manufacturers need only produce the variant which upholds the strictest standards. Voila.
How quickly we forget that California emissions standards – once the standard bearer – directly led to the adoption of mandatory catalytic converters on all autos and the elimination of leaded gasoline. Both were opposed by the auto industry at the time, and both have proven to be cost effective as well as beneficial for the environment.
Though the transition toward a policy of state-by-state mandates may be bumpy, the decision to move back toward a policy of forward-thinking states setting the standard is a decision which is sound and justifiable, not to mention commendable. In the long term, it will pay huge dividends.
Two thumbs way up for this announcement from the Obama Administration.