Today’s automotive industry has come a long way from its beginnings to our present time. There are key factors that drive the industry including consumer demands, safety requirements, politics, greed, and the Tree hugger’s demands. Today I will be discussing the impact on this industry made by only one of those factors. CARB, also known as the “Tree huggers”, or California Air Resources Board, has made one of the largest impacts on today’s automotive industry. A car cannot be sold in our domestic market without conforming to strict emission standards brought about by CARB.
This organization started to make an effect on the automotive industry back in 1967 when it was established. CARB was created by compounding two California state agencies, which had similar responsibilities. The California Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board, and the Bureau of Air Sanitation, became one, by the Mulford-Carrell Air Resources Act. Their sole purpose was to maintain and improve the air quality of California. In 1970, when the Clean Air Act was passed through federal legislation, CARB was recognized by our federal government as a state with the highest air pollution in the country. This deemed California the trend setter for air quality laws in our country, which is why CARB has so much power over the domestic car market. In fact, CARB is so powerful today, every state in the US has a choice to either follow federal emission standards or CARB’s emission standards; any given state in the US is not permitted to come up with their own laws on emissions, except for California.
How does this affect the car manufacturers who want to sell to the US? Well for one, it makes it a bit more difficult. It controls the engineers working for manufacturers because they must engineer a vehicle that meets tight standards. And then if there are two standards to go by, CARB and Federal, then will they opt out to sell in California and its follower states, or make a special car to meet the needs of CARB’s standards. To try and meet two different standards in one country is often too complicated for a manufacturer to keep up with. So generally speaking, a car manufacturer who will sell to the US makes sure their cars will comply with all the standards; rather than, making two different cars for two different standards, or only catering to one standard. This is how CARB has such a large impact on the automobile market here in the United States. They control what kinds of cars are being sold nationwide through their strict air quality laws.
Is this a good impact or a bad impact? In this country, who is to say what is right or wrong, because we are very liberal on one hand and opinionated on the other. My personal response to the question, which has no right or wrong answer, is that CARB’s impact on the automotive industry in the states is a good thing. If nothing else brings our way of life to an end first, CARB may assist in preserving human life on earth. What CARB does for the our whole nation helps people in our country with respiratory disease. Fewer pollutants in the air means less suffering for people with asthma. Also, less pollutants means a lower number of new respiratory disease cases, which in turn means less suffering among people. The more CARB can do to prevent pain and suffering among humans in the US the better.
Now on the other side of the debate, and in my case playing devil’s advocate, CARB has a negative impact on the industry. CARB’s regulations makes cars more expensive, makes maintaining a car cost more, adds limitations to consumers, and makes it tougher for the technicians working on today’s cars because they have to continuously keep up with their education. The number of people who would say CARB has negative impacts on our domestic market would most likely be a much smaller number than that of the people who say the impacts of CARB are positive. But, be it small or large, the people who would say that the impact is negative would likely be people involved in car manufacturing, oil producing, automotive repair, automotive engineering, expensive taxpaying relating to CARB laws, and/or lobbying against these laws. Also, most white males born around 1950 and earlier who have any interest in cars would probably speak against what CARB has done.
As you can see, through what I have discussed, whether the impact is good or bad, one thing is for sure. The car industry in the US has been majorly impacted, by the California Air Resources Board. When a car producing company knocks at America’s door CARB opens that door and says “jump” and that car company will ask “how high?”