"Cool Cars" regulation ignores public safety and hurts economy

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Jan. 15, 2010 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

California’s "Cool Cars" policy is an AB 32 early action item developed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by reflecting heat away from cars, thereby requiring less air conditioning and less fuel.  In reality, the policy provides insignificant greenhouse gas reductions, puts at risk public safety and creates more costs for companies producing and distributing products in California.

The draft "Cool Car" regulations originally banned dark colored vehicles (black, purple, dark blue, etc.), but due to an uproar from auto dealers, manufacturers and the general public, the proposed regulations were changed at the end of May 2009 to instead require that a layer of metallic reflective material be incorporated in the layers of glass in the windshield. The technology would be required in the front windshield of all new vehicles sold in California in 2012 and in all car windows in 2016.  

In spite of requests from industry to allow additional time to study the effects of such a mandate and Toyota's testimony that a similar policy was abandoned in Japan because of safety concerns, CARB approved the regulations last June.

According to the Auto Alliance, the policy will result in savings of less than a gallon of gas per year, per car, and a doubling of windshield costs.  CARB's own report  (which came out long after the original policy was introduced) overstates the benefits by six times and understates the costs by two and a half times. 

Meanwhile, industry testing has showed that the metallic reflective window coating will create enormous security risks by interfering with GPS monitoring anklet systems, negatively affect bridge and toll road transponders and aftermarket GPS navigation products.  In addition, CTIA-The Wireless Association just completed studies that show that these windshields will reduce the chances of cell phone call completion up to 50 percent in areas with no over-lapping cell site coverage and signal loss will mean up to a 30 percent lower chance of successful Emergency 911 calls in rural locations. 

Solar absorptive technology incorporated in windshields is an alternative approach and is 90 percent as effective in reducing the build-up of heat in a vehicle. This technology has none of the negative outcomes of the proposed “Cool Car” regulations.  

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