In a big victory for environmentalists and a blow to the auto industry, the California Senate yesterday handily passed the nation’s first bill to limit carbon dioxide emissions from the tailpipes of cars and light trucks. Enviros say the vehicles produce 40 percent of California’s greenhouse gas emissions; the bill (in stirring wording) would direct the state Air Resources Board to implement rules to get the “maximum feasible and cost-effective” reduction of CO2. Automakers and car dealers say the bill would result in more taxes, less choice for car buyers, and higher sticker prices, especially for SUVs. The bill now goes to the Assembly, which approved an earlier version in January, and then to Gov. Gray Davis (D). Davis, who is seeking reelection and wants the support of both industry and environmentalists, has not yet announced his position on the bill.

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