Vermont court hears landmark vehicle-emissions case

This week, the U.S. state with the fewest registered cars will take the driver’s seat in the race to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions. A Vermont court will hear a landmark case on whether the state’s adoption of a stringent California emissions law is legal. Under the Clean Air Act, states can choose between federal legislation and California’s, which is notoriously progressive. But miffed automakers argue that — buckle your seatbelt — because cutting emissions means burning less fuel, which means improving gas mileage, the law is attempting to govern fuel economy, something only the feds can do. Whew. In a decision last week confirming EPA’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide, however, the U.S. Supreme Court said emissions regulations and efficiency improvements “may overlap.” Covering their gases, carmakers also say the rule is too expensive to implement, will raise costs for consumers, and singles out their industry. In other news, this year’s models all come equipped with tiny violins.