We watched "Who Killed The Electric Car" last night, and all my frustration at the insanity of taking the electric car off the market bubbled back up to the top. As someone who grew up in Southern California with severe asthma and surviving smog alerts so bad they wouldn't let kids play outdoors, the electric car was not only a miraculous answer, it was smart. No dependency on foreign oil. No combustion engine to maintain. No CO2. Just a clean, quiet, efficient ride.
Luckily, the EPA has recently approved amendments to regulations similar to those enacted by CARB in 1990 that mandated alternative fuel vehicles.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has cleared the way for automakers to produce hydrogen-powered fuel cell cars to meet zero-emission vehicle requirements in California and 10 other states, officials said Friday.
[..]"This waiver simply reflects the prominence of fuel cells," said John Millett, an EPA spokesman. "Fuel cells have really taken off."
California initially adopted its regulations in 1990, requiring by 2003 that 10 percent of the new cars sold in the state by major manufacturers be zero-emission vehicles.
The rules have been modified several times since then. Currently, they call for 2 percent of the six biggest automakers' new cars to be zero-emission vehicles, 2 percent to be gasoline-electric hybrids and 6 percent to be super-low-polluting gasoline-powered vehicles known as PZEVs.
While this is indubitably a good sign, it's a baby step forward after giant steps had been retracted. The Electric Car documentary did have a whole lot of faith in the fuel cell technology, which doesn't surprise me in the least, since that is the technology the auto industry and this government have been touting. However, to be fair, here are both pros and cons of fuel cell technology. All I know is that even this little step would not happen in the neo-con's vaunted "free-market" economy, and that it really is in our best interest, both environmentally and as a nation, to promote alternative fuels.