Re “U.S. to Issue Tougher Fuel Standards for Automobiles” (NY Times, 5/18/2009)

“President Obama will announce as early as Tuesday that he will combine California’s tough new auto-emissions rules with the existing corporate average fuel economy standard to create a single new national standard …”

Four questions:

(1) Which will it be: an emission standard or a fuel-economy standard? (California scrupulously avoided structuring its Pavley regulations as a fuel-economy standard, to avoid conflict with federal preemption rules.)

(2) Will the new federal standard preempt California’s even tougher “Pavley II” regulations under AB 32?

(3) California’s standard was based on the AB-1493 mandate requiring “the maximum feasible and cost-effective reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles.” Will federal standards be based on any comparable requirement?

(4) The California standard, when fully phased in by 2016, would be 205 gm-CO2/mi for cars and 332 gm-CO2/mi for light trucks. Has anyone in the federal government, or in any of the state governments that have adopted California’s standard, seen or understood the calculations underlying these numbers?