Proposed new rules to regulate greenhouse gases on new vehicles may cause some motorists to hang on to their older, more polluting cars longer, a new report says.
Allen Malanowski, an economist for the Governor's Regulatory Review Council, said the new standards, being pushed by Gov. Janet Napolitano and the state Department of Environmental Quality, will increase the cost of cars and trucks that have to meet them.
The state DEQ agrees, saying the price could increase by $1,000 or more when the regulation is fully implemented.
Malanowski is recommending the council approve the regulations anyway.
He said higher cost factors have to be weighed against the increased fuel efficiency of these new vehicles, which will lower operating costs. Malanowski said the council also needs to consider the effects of being able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and "long-term probable benefits to the health and safety of society."
Bobbi Sparrow, president of the Arizona Automobile Dealers Association, said the conclusions are based on erroneous information.
She said making cars that meet the lowered emission standards, which do not exist now, is likely to add $3,000 to the cost of new vehicles. That price differential, she said, will simply encourage people to hold on to their older cars.
Sparrow said there are studies that show the oldest 5 percent of vehicles on the road cause 75 percent of the pollution.
Sparrow said the proposal also preserves the state's vehicle registration fee system, which pegs the tax to the value of the vehicle: Owners of the newest cars pay the most; the lowest fee is on the oldest vehicles.
"There are people who won't give up that $20 registration fee," she said.
She also said nothing in the report addresses the mandate in the rule that 11 percent of vehicles sold in Arizona, beginning with the 2012 model year, emit no emissions at all. Aside from the cost of these vehicles, which are not in common production, she said no one has studied the cost of setting up the infrastructure to support their use, like hydrogen refueling stations.
Whose analysis is correct will be a key point of debate when the council meets Tuesday to review the regulations. That vote is crucial: Council action is the last step in enacting the rules, though other legal hurdles remain.