Chevy Suburban Cowboys
Texas, which is plagued by dirty air, is considering adopting California’s strict vehicle pollution rules as early as this spring. The shift, one of a number of options being considered to satisfy a federal cleanup order, could help Texas Gov. George W. Bush (R) dodge criticism for his lax environmental approach in the presidential campaign. Texas must submit a cleanup plan to the EPA by April; if that plan doesn’t satisfy the feds, the state faces potential fines, bans on construction, and a cutoff of highway funds. Automakers are aghast that Bush is talking about imposing the tougher rules, particularly a requirement that within a few years 10 percent of new vehicles sold in the state would have to be zero-emission. Texas is currently the nation’s top market for pickup trucks and massive SUVs like Chevy Suburbans, and the auto industry is deploying lobbyists across the state to fight rules that might jeopardize sales.