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Green Cars You Can't Buy

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the you-can't-handle-the-lack-of-pollution dept.

United States 528

Geoffrey.landis writes "Auto industry blogger Lawrence Ulrich notes that Honda is now making a "Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle" (or PZEV for short) version of the 2008 Accord, an all-new vehicle that is redesigned to meet California emission standards. He notes "So, just how green is a PZEV machine? Well, if you just cut your lawn with a gas mower, congratulations, you just put out more pollution in one hour than these cars do in 2,000 miles of driving." But the irony is that it's actually illegal for automakers to sell these green cars outside of the special states they were designed for! Apparently, anybody selling one of these ultra-green vehicles out of the correctly-designated venue — which means either California, or seven northeast-states with similar pollution laws — "could be subject to civil fines of up to $27,500. Volvo sent its dealers a memo alerting them to this fact, noting that its greenest S40 and V50 models were only for the special states.""

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Partially Zero? (5, Insightful)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465883)

What the fuck does that even mean?

Re:Partially Zero? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20465937)

its a lot like dividing by zero. None of it makes any sense.

Re:Partially Zero? (5, Interesting)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466317)

I suspect its invented Marketing for the next step beyond "Ultra Low Emmissions". Maybe emissions are below the point of measurement?

But the article is lame because it doesn't give any of the reasons why these cars may be illegal outside these few states; my understanding is that Californian laws are be definition stricter than US EPA regulations because no matter what, the US EPA regs apply too. Most makers gave up building a special "California Car" ages ago and just make 1 clean model to keep mass market efficiencies. It does hint that these cars cost a premium that is being absorbed by the makers, which is why they might want to restrict sales, but thast not the claim of the article. Keep in mind PZEV has nothing to do w/ economy or CO2, it has to do with byproducts like CO & NO2.

Why is it restricted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20465957)

Is it because the popularity of green vehicles is shifting crop production and making food prices go up (motivating the legal discouragement of green vehicles)?

Or do they expect that by limiting their potential customer base they will make more money?

Or am I just missing something?

These are hybrid vehicles (4, Interesting)

benhocking (724439) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466015)

Is it because the popularity of green vehicles is shifting crop production and making food prices go up (motivating the legal discouragement of green vehicles)?
No, the Accord has no impact on crop production as it runs on regular gasoline. It just emits less pollution. As an owner of a hybrid PZEV vehicle (Civic Hybrid) bought in the red state of Virginia, I'm going to call BS on this story. Either the author, Volvo, or both have gotten themselves confused.

Re:These are hybrid vehicles (4, Informative)

PJ1216 (1063738) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466121)

Hybrids != PZEV

While the PZEVs are most likely hybrids, I don't believe all the hybrids on the market are the PZEVs. The Civic Hybrid gives out the roughly the same amount of pollution as a regular car does once it goes to running on gas.

Though, I could be mistaken. I can't remember where I was reading about it, so my head could be playing tricks on me. However, I'm fairly certain the hybrid models available on the market aren't PZEVs. I'm pretty sure some of the Volvo models for 2008 are however biodiesel hybrids (though, it might be regular diesel hybrids), which would make sense for the restriction in terms of shifting crop production.

Re:Hybrids != PZEV (3, Informative)

benhocking (724439) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466281)

While the PZEVs are most likely hybrids, I don't believe all the hybrids on the market are the PZEVs. The Civic Hybrid gives out the roughly the same amount of pollution as a regular car does once it goes to running on gas.
There are PZEVs that are not hybrids and hybrids that are not PZEVs. However, the Accord being discussed is a hybrid and PZEV, as is my 2005 Civic Hybrid (per its sticker).

Re:These are hybrid vehicles (2, Insightful)

PJ1216 (1063738) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466283)

Apparently, I'm wrong on a lot of assumptions, but so is a lot of other stuff. Some of these aren't hybrids at all. They don't get better gas mileage or anything. They're just cleaner and more expensive. They still use regular gasoline. I'm really having difficulty finding the issue about why its illegal to sell elsewhere.

Probably because it's not (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466343)

I'm really having difficulty finding the issue about why its illegal to sell elsewhere.
That's probably because it's not illegal and the author is just confused. His sources appear to be quite lacking, so I see no way to verify his information. Seeing as his claim makes no sense, I'm going to believe he's wrong until I see evidence to the contrary. (Yes, I realize that government regulations don't have to make sense.)

Re:Partially Zero? (5, Funny)

archen (447353) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465963)

and more importantly, can you divide by partial zero?

Re:Partially Zero? (5, Funny)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466421)

> can you divide by partial zero?

Of course you can. That's the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus.

Re:Partially Zero? (5, Funny)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466471)

Yes, but only a little bit.

Re:Partially Zero? (1)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465965)

Because the car is partial. Why do you think it has zero emissions?

Re:Partially Zero? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20465967)

Well, if "zero emission" vehicle means that there are (waitforit) zero emissions, I'd imagine that "partially-"zero emission"" is an awkwardly phrased way of saying "low emission". Or are you retarded and not able to parse language?

Re:Partially Zero? (2, Informative)

El Gigante de Justic (994299) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466027)

From the PZEV article [wikipedia.org] in wikipedia:

The vehicles constructed to meet the PZEV requirements are called Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (SULEVs). Various techniques are used to reduce pollution in these vehicles. In order to qualify as a PZEV, a vehicle must meet the SULEV standard and, in addition, have zero evaporative emissions from its fuel system plus an extended (15-year/150,000-mile) warranty on its emission-control components, which incidentally covers the propulsion electrical components of a hybrid electric vehicle.
Basically it's a compromise for car manufacturers before they have to go to true zero emission vehicles, which are fully electric for hydrogen fuel cell powered.

Re:Partially Zero? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20466307)

PZEV requirements are called Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (SULEVs).
SULEV is far too long for mainstream media. I predict SULEV will soon be shortened to SUV. That rolls off the tounge much easier. :)

Re:Partially Zero? (5, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466043)

Well, it's a bit like fuzzy logic. When a zero is sufficiently large, it's almost as much as a little bit of one.

Re:Partially Zero? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466059)

I always thought is was Practically Zero Emissions Vehicle

Which does make sense.

It's a contradictory sounding term... (3, Informative)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466073)

Partial zero emission vehicle means that during some portion of time while the vehicle is operating, it does not produce any emissions. Example: The Toyota Prius is a PZEV because when the engine is off and it is operating on its electric motors, it is operating and not producing any emissions. Note that not all hybrids are PZEVs because with some the engine runs constantly.

PZEV is becoming one of those buzzwords that journalists like to latch onto. It's meant to simplify what is being talked about, but taking a literal interpretation without knowing the background makes it rather confusing and a little misleading, in my opinion.

Speaking of buzzwords, I still giggle a little every time I am behind one of those Honda CRV's with the little decal that says "Real-time 4WD". As if someone wants a 4WD vehicle in which they would have to wait 30 minutes for the front axle to start pulling. "Automatic" would be a more appropriate word, but it doesn't have the buzzword effect that "real-time" does.

Re:It's a contradictory sounding term... (4, Informative)

PJ1216 (1063738) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466407)

PZEV doesn't actually imply at times it gives off zero emissions, it implies that it gives off zero evaporative emissions. So, while it doesn't give off zero emissions, it does give off zero emissions of a specific kind. SULEV is an equivalent term (Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PZEV [wikipedia.org] .

Re:It's a contradictory sounding term... (5, Informative)

Albanach (527650) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466417)

Partial zero emission vehicle means that during some portion of time while the vehicle is operating, it does not produce any emissions.
I think you might be wrong here. I have a 2.3L Focus outside that has PZEV stickers on it, and I'd hazard a guess that the only time it doesn't produce any emissions is when the engine is turned off.

The PZEV actually means that for some of the many types of emissions normal combustion engines make, these cars have zero emissions. PZEV vehicles have zero evaporative emissions from the fuel system, but PZEV doesn't address things like CO2 emissions. Hence they are partially zero - zero in some areas, not zero in others.

A Prius is an AT-PZEV because it sometimes runs with a standard combustion engine and therefore faces all the normal emissions such an engine would produce. To further enhance its green credentials, Toyota made the combustion engine meet the Californian PZEV standards.

The article itself is a bit misleading. A PZEV vehicle can be sold outside the listed states, it just can't be marketed as such, as this would also mean it offers other things such as an enhanced emissions warranty for 150,000 miles. So my Focus would be a PZEV vehicle if I'd bought it in California. Having bought it elsewhere it has exactly the same engine but without the warranty advantages.

Re:Partially Zero? (1)

niola (74324) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466175)

lol and to think in school I was taught that you cannot divide by zero...

Re:Partially Zero? (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466225)

300 g/km co2

See, it's partially zero... ;-)

You are right! (3, Insightful)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466271)

Partially Zero?
What the fuck does that even mean?

You're right, lets not discuss the assinine laws that prevent green vehicles from being sold in all locales. Let's, instead, get picky over a term. That's more important, isn't it?

Dumbass..... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20466319)

but i'd still like to do you in anus!

They will never be legal here (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20465891)

I'm totally screwed. I live in a red state.

Red State (1)

gentimjs (930934) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466405)

So go do your part and buy a few Humvees ...

You know what else is illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20465947)

Ending a sentence with a preposition.

Re:You know what else is illegal? (1)

jomegat (706411) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466197)

These are the sort of rules up with which we shall not put! (Apologies to Churchill.)

From-the-WTF-Dept. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20465953)

What possible reason could they come up with to justify such a law? I could see them trying to target the worst (most poluted) states first and limiting inventory to other states temporarily, but to actually pass a law with fines sounds extremely fishy.

Seriously, you Uh-mericans need to get rid of Bush, quick fast and in a hurry! Ron Paul might give you half a chance to get your freedom & economy back... and perhaps environment... Good luck!

very simple reason for it (5, Interesting)

netsavior (627338) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466165)

California gives automakers huge grants for making CA only cars. The cars are subsidized by the state, so if you sell it in another state you are basically taking tax dollars away from California residents (both in the Car's sale, and in the state's funding of the car manufacturing/R&D).

I am not saying it's right, but it is not 100% rediculious.

Re:very simple reason for it (1)

celle (906675) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466457)

Since when is it taking tax dollars away from CAL? Considering all the money(our federal taxes) that went down the big black hole of research in California, I'd say it's time for some payback. Why do you think that state does so good even during a bad time in the economic cycle?

Re:From-the-WTF-Dept. (1)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466259)

From RFTA: "So in states where there are no regulations to force their hand". So it looks like you might not be able to blame Bush for this one. I know it is a great disappointment to you. Just like fuel blends. The ones in California are cleaner than the rest of the country. It is state mandated, not federal. Sorry.

Re:From-the-WTF-Dept. (1)

Enlarged to Show Tex (911413) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466443)

Increased carbon footprint mandated by law.

Film at -11

Why are they illegal? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20465961)

I RTFA and the author fails to tell why it's illegal in most states. Just dangles the fact that it is in front of us.

What?! What do you mean? (2, Insightful)

bonez_net11 (472640) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465973)

Need more information. Maybe I just dont understand why you can't sell a "green" vehicle anywhere?

Re:What?! What do you mean? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466195)

Yes this is shotty reporting even for MSNBC. Where is the Report from the people who charge these fines Why are they charging fines. As of right now this is just yellow journalism reporting meant to stir the blood and get people angry without knowing why. Because even if we did go and yell at the states that disallow these cars what law is preventing it? Is it just the automakers not filling out the correct forms that don't require these cars to be sold or is it something more?

Re:What?! What do you mean? (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466205)

Because you didn't RTFA:
Under terms of the Clean Air Act--in the kind of delicious irony only our government can pull off--anyone (dealer, consumer, automaker) involved in an out-of-bounds PZEV sale could be subject to civil fines of up to $27,500

yes, what are the fines for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20466349)

the article was short on information.

Clean air act (2, Informative)

benhocking (724439) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466449)

Under terms of the Clean Air Act--in the kind of delicious irony only our government can pull off--anyone (dealer, consumer, automaker) involved in an out-of-bounds PZEV sale could be subject to civil fines of up to $27,500
The clean air act [epa.gov] is mighty large, but I don't see this in there. I tried various searches on Google including site:http://www.epa.gov/air/caa/, but no hits on "27,500", "27500", or even "fines". Seems that by "civil" they mean "invented".

Re:What?! What do you mean? (2, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466267)

I'm just guessing here, but: The manufacturers made a deal to produce a limited supply of these vehicles with the several states mentioned. It is in the interest of these states to keep these vehicles within their borders so they reap the benefits of their operation. In order to ensure that they do remain where sold, they enacted legislation (or terms in the sales contracts) imposing this requirement.

Re:What?! What do you mean? (1)

milamber3 (173273) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466459)

I must have missed the news story of the "green" states erecting semi-permeable membranes around themselves that can keep out pollution from the other "non-green" states. Otherwise, why would they only benefit from those cars being driven solely in their state?

Folgers? (5, Funny)

MajinBlayze (942250) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465979)

Ah, the smell of technology innovation being stifled by stupid legal action in the morning.

Only sold in California (1)

dahwang (973539) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465989)

Because California wants to protect it's precious and clean air.

if you can even call it 'air'

Not just that, but many Euro diesels with 80+ mpg (4, Informative)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#20465993)

One thing to remember is that much of Europe has various cars that have diesel (and bio-diesel) engines that are not licensed for sale in the US.

And even the so-called plug-in hybrids (which I love) that will be sold by GM and Ford etc will be in such short supply that production until 2012 will be so minimal it's unlikely you'll be able to get one.

Re:Not just that, but many Euro diesels with 80+ m (1)

GoodOmens (904827) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466047)

I would kill for a decent recent diesel car over here in the states. Modern diesel engines are way more efficent then hybrids for a cheaper price. I still don't get why they are not common place over here. I assume because people still think of them as a enviromental disaster ....

Re:Not just that, but many Euro diesels with 80+ m (3, Informative)

Zelos (1050172) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466135)

Don't forget that diesel is denser, so you can't compare MPG with petrol really. A 50MPG diesel emits more CO2 than a 50MPG petrol car.

Re:Not just that, but many Euro diesels with 80+ m (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466355)

True, comparing global warming emissions on a diesel to a gasoline engine is difficult.

Then you have to measure source for such things as fuel cells (where did they get the hydrogen and oxygen - from coal? net loss) and plug-in hybrids (not everyone has 99 percent green power like the Pacific Northwest does with our hydro and wind based electricity - most US sources are coal-based).

Re:Not just that, but many Euro diesels with 80+ m (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466301)

Almost ALL of those euro diesel cars have less emissions than some of the best american gasoline cars.

I's purely politics. The Smart is safe as hell as-is but the Morons at the Govt make them put in useless safety crap and jacks the price up to insane levels so nobody buys them.

Don't Get it? (3, Informative)

GoodOmens (904827) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466005)

The article seems to contradict itself ... Not only can't you buy one, but the government says it's currently illegal for automakers to sell these green cars outside of the special states. Under terms of the Clean Air Act--in the kind of delicious irony only our government can pull off--anyone (dealer, consumer, automaker) involved in an out-of-bounds PZEV sale could be subject to civil fines of up to $27,500.

then ...

It's not all the fault of the car companies. The crazy quilt of environmental regulations is forcing carmakers to design and build two versions of the same cars. And it costs real money to make a car this green. So in states where there are no regulations to force their hand,automakers don't want to have to boost their prices for the green versions--or to simply eat the extra cost and make less profit.

It DOES sound like the fault of the automaker. If they don't have to sell a cleaner car in other states why should they?

Re:Don't Get it? (1)

jonpublic (676412) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466377)

Selling a green car in a state that doesn't have increased emissions standards would put them at a competitive disadvantage. Its the patchwork regulation of the market that's causing the problem here.

Um... (3, Insightful)

richdun (672214) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466019)

So my 2004 Prius has a big sticker on the rear, driver's side window that says "PZEV," indicating that it is a Partial-Zero Emission Vehicle per the standards. Does this article imply that Toyota has been breaking the law selling the Prius around the nation, or are there different versions of the Prius that are "clean" and "cleaner"? It mentions Toyota and the Prius, but doesn't make the connection that the Prius is also a PZEV.

Re:Um... (1)

jonpublic (676412) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466291)

which state are you in?

Re:Um... (1)

dabraun (626287) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466387)

My Prius (2007) says PZEV. I am in Washington State.

Re:Um... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20466415)

haha you drive a prius. i bet u sniff you own farts too lol

It would be unfair competition (4, Insightful)

sheldon (2322) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466023)

Just like the beef packer down in Kansas who wanted to test all of their cows for mad-cow disease, so they could be certified to ship beef to Japan. The USDA rightfully shut them down, because it would have been unfair competition, giving these guys a competitive edge over everybody else in the market.

If they let Honda sell near zero emissions automobiles in states where it's not mandated, that might put pressure on everybody else to also make near zero emissions cars, and that's just not fair!

So we should all thank our friends in the Government, for helping ot insure that competition in the marketplace does not create unfair competition.

Sometimes you can't tell spoof from reality. :-)

Re:It would be unfair competition (1)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466261)

The government is merely trying to regulate smugness emissions. While it's fine for Californians to walk around smelling their own farts, it'd be chaos if the entire nation came under a smug cloud that would rival the one produced by George Clooney's acceptance speech at the Oscars.

Re:It would be unfair competition (4, Insightful)

pzs (857406) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466305)

So you have to maintain a pure capitalist model for health-care even though it's really inefficient, but if you try to do that for cars you get punished? I know cognitive dissonance in government is common, but this is mental.

Does anybody else wonder whether the US government has been taken over by somebody (possibly giant alien lizards [wikipedia.org] ) who are deliberately trying to ruin the country? I honestly can't see how they could do a worse job if they tried. It's even more amazing how much congress and the senate sit back and watch them piss all over 50 years of dominating the world, pushing the nox button on the hand-basket heading towards hell.

As a Brit, I feel grateful that our Empire went out in a blaze of glory. Yours is just imploding. My sympathies.

Peter

Re:It would be unfair competition (2, Informative)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466361)

There's a faint smell of sarcasm in the air, here. Just in case everyone else couldn't smell it.

If one beef packer can pay to have his product tested, so can everyone else; no unfair advantage.

If one company can make a PZEV, so can everyone else; no unfair advantage.

Some competition is more fair that other competition, in that a smaller competitor may not be able to afford certain certifications or equipment. As long as those certifications and equipment are open to them when they can afford and are not under the control of a competitor in the same market, there is nothing at all unfair going on.

Re:It would be unfair competition (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20466369)

So we should all thank our friends in the Government

More specifically, we should thank centralized power for this injustice. The more power at the center, the more the populace is subjected to a one-size-fits-all system of law, rather than one which respects and tolerates difference. It goes without saying that political power in the US (as well as around the world) is now more consolidated and centralized than ever -- a top-down system where the few, the power elite, have seized the decision-making power of the many.

Re:It would be unfair competition (2, Insightful)

cloricus (691063) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466375)

What really scares me is that it wasn't till the last two words in your second last line that my brain finally choose the 'yeah, this is a joke' side of the fence to fall on. And I'm a rather smart chappy. Maybe you americans have finally gone mad and instead of waiting for another funny and witty show like MASH we should just all watch your nightly news shows around the world for a laugh. :)

Thanks for reminding me... (1)

pragma_x (644215) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466399)

... to have my sarcasm detector checked. Well played.

"So we should all thank our friends in the Government, for helping [to] insure that competition in the marketplace does not create unfair competition."

Hey now, some businesses poured lots of their hard-earned money into the pockets of Lobbyists so that they could, in turn, make sure that their elected representative truly represents their voice. Hotels and dining in DC isn't cheap.

Besides, what's good for them, is good for their employees and unions, right?

"Sometimes you can't tell spoof from reality. :-)"

Indeed!

Maybe I missed it..... (1)

ThinkWeak (958195) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466067)

...but how does regulation like this even work? I would have thought that if your emissions laws were less stringent, you would still be able to drive a car that surpassed your state's standards. What is the justification for keeping these cars out of the rest of the country?

Something doesn't seem right. (2, Insightful)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466083)

For some reason, I don't think we're getting the full story here. Usually, there's at least some sort of somewhat-logical reasoning behind something like this. Anyone know the full story? Or is this an example of the rampant corruption that plaguing the US government?

So... Why not? (2, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466091)

Apart from a little snippet about how it's because of the Clean Air Act, why can't auto makers sell those cars outside of special regions? I'm having a rough time coming up with concrete specifics about the assertion.

Stop it. (5, Insightful)

Oswald (235719) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466101)

Just stop talking about this fucking article. There's a reason nobody can figure out what is going on here, and the reason is shitty reporting. If the idiot writer can't make any more sense than this, ignore him and wait for somebody with a clue to cover the story.

New MSN Autos columnist puts his foot in it (5, Informative)

Yath (6378) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466105)

Right, "Green Cars Automakers Won't Sell You". Possibly the most misleading headline you'll see all week.

These vehicles are heavily subsidized by the states where you may sell them, and they're interested in getting their investment back. California lays out wads of cash for some cleaner vehicles, so California wants them driven in California (for example; there are several other states involved). The automakers are not allowed to sell them anywhere else. It's that simple.

If these vehicles were produced without subsidies, they'd be so expensive that no one would buy them. Lawrence Ulrich seems to think that automakers should make a highly expensive clean-burning vehicles on their own and sell them at a loss, perhaps so they can go out of business in two or three years.

At least Slashdot used a non-misleading headline instead. Kudos for that.

Re:New MSN Autos columnist puts his foot in it (1)

ThinkWeak (958195) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466207)

That would make sense for an initial production run of the vehicle. It would've been nice for them to mention anything like this in the article referenced, but then again - if they did that it wouldn't be slanted journalism.

Re:New MSN Autos columnist puts his foot in it (4, Funny)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466371)

Lawrence Ulrich seems to think that automakers should make a highly expensive clean-burning vehicles on their own and sell them at a loss, perhaps so they can go out of business in two or three years.
Actually, I believe the US automakers are trying something along those lines, just without the "clean-burning" bit.

No wonder they are close to zero emmisions... (2, Funny)

ttapper04 (955370) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466109)

... you cant buy one :)

Vincent Price's Orphan Powered Death Machine has zero emissions too; it does not exist.
Or does it..?

200 times more pollution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20466133)

BS.

"if you just cut your lawn with a gas mower, congratulations, you just put out more pollution in one hour than these cars do in 2,000 miles of driving."

My lawn mower uses about 1 quart per hour. If any of these cars gets 40 mpg, then by this quote they are producing 200 times more pollution than my one hour of yard work. Because the primary pollutant of burning gasoline is CO2. In fact, one hour with my lawn mower uses less gas than one hour of driving one of these cars at 60 mph.

Plug-in Hybrids (2, Informative)

Jennifer York (1021509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466137)

There is enough capacity [groovygreen.com] in the grid today that if 70% of all cars and trucks were electric, they could be charged overnight without the need for adding a single new power generation unit. It's time for a revolution, an ELECTRIC REVOLUTION!!!

Laws that inhibit good and desirable behaviour, are bad laws. No other way to say it.

Capacity != Capability (1)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466237)

One caveat is that the electric transmission capabilities are not up to the task of something like this. Yes, in theory there is sufficient power generation capacity, but moving there isn't a strong enough transmission infrastructure to move this capacity around to where it would be needed. That's one of the reason there's so much extra generation capacity to be found.

Zero is absolute (2, Insightful)

JoeInnes (1025257) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466139)

You cannot have something that is partially zero. Zero is an absolute. This is like saying that something is "partially complete". Partially complete is management speak for incomplete, partially zero is management speak for not zero. More advertising bollocks.

Re:Zero is absolute (1)

netsavior (627338) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466239)

except when emissions are a function of time.
lets take a 3 second "timeline"

Second 1 - .005 cu feet CO2
second 2 - 0 cu feet CO2
second 3 - .005 cu feet CO2

one out of every 3 seconds has ZERO emissions. So the vehicle is a PARTIAL Zero Emissions vehicle.

Re:Zero is absolute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20466401)

as if mother earth cares about arbitrary/human definitions of time intervals. why not just call them ULEVs? or something similar.

Re:Zero is absolute (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466373)

I think we have a case of the stupids.

So what's the deal? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466149)

Could we get a TINY bit more info? Do those cars fail to pass certain regulations in those states? Or does the government in some mind-twisting plot try to use this as some kinda statistics comparision thingie (i.e. do "green" cars actually cause an affect, a statistic that would of course be tainted if the cars could drive anywhere)?

Before I put on my tinfoil hat, does anyone have a bit more info than "must not sell them there"? "Why" is the only really interesting question (most of the time it is), and if one question isn't answered in the linked article, it's this one.

My state is eliminating emission tests (0, Troll)

gelfling (6534) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466151)

North Carolina has decided that already having the 5th worst air in the country isn't nearly patriotic enough so they're doing away with emission tests on the annual inspection soon. Since 75% of all newly registered vehicles are either pickups or SUV's you can bet that they'll all have bigger dirtier engines eventually. I'm getting a ribbon magnet the size of a small child to slap on the side to proclaim that my underwear is an American flag and my blood runs red white and blue.

Re:My state is eliminating emission tests (1)

EricWright (16803) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466381)

I thought only a few counties in NC (including Wake where I live) had emissions testing anyway. Seems like those counties have a red/blue inspection sticker, while the others have a yellow sticker. Go figure that every link on NCDOT's website that is supposed to take you to a listing of "emissions counties" is broken. Have you got a link somewhere that confirms this?

Am I right in assuming... (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466155)

That this retarded restriction only applies within the US's jurisdiction?

huh (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466171)

Does that mean that if you were to drive one of these cars across state lines, you would be in violation of some DOT code? Or if one wanted to drive across state lines, would they have to have their sensors/PCM calibrated to fit the requirements of the destination state? If either of these is true, someone must think the buyers of these vehicles are cute... because they want to screw them.

Reference please... (1)

brewer13210 (821462) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466179)

The article makes the claim that car companies can't sell cars that have emission levels below CA and national standards. EPA and related standards set MAXIMUM levels of pollutants, not minimums. It would have been a big help if the author had provided any references to the regulations he's writing about. Until then, I'll remain very skeptical of his claims.

Kinda makes sense... (1)

ZipprHead (106133) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466209)

Don't the states that sell them offer tax credits or rebates? Wouldn't seem fair if I bought it in CA with this discount when I didn't live in the state. A sort of reverse taxation without representation.

Inaccurate summary? (1)

The Step Child (216708) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466213)

The article seems somewhat poorly written, but the /. summary says this:

it's actually illegal for automakers to sell these green cars outside of the special states they were designed for

I see no reason why it would be illegal under any state or federal law to sell a car that has super-low emissions. The end of the article implies that the manufacturer doesn't want to sell cars with the low-emissions hardware outside the states with strict emissions laws because 1) it increases the cost of the car, and 2) the manufacturer would have to eat up the cost of this equipment because consumers wouldn't want to pay extra for a feature that has no benefit in terms of gas mileage (and isn't exactly a luxury add-on). Basically the manufacturer eats up the cost in certain states because of the fact that they have stricter emissions laws, and they wouldn't otherwise be able to sell the car at all.

In Case Of /.ing (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466247)

Here's the text of TFA:

Dirty Secret: Green Cars Automakers Won't Sell You by Lawrence Ulrich

On a recent run from Boston to Cape Cod, I test drove the 2008 Honda Accord, the latest version of this family favorite. The new Accord boasts an environmental first: a six-cylinder gasoline engine that's cleaner than many hybrid systems.

There's only one catch: You can't actually buy this ultra-green Accord, or the four-cylinder version that also produces near-zero pollution. That is, unless you live in California, New York or six other northeast states that follow California's tougher pollution rules. Only there can you buy this Accord, or the roughly two dozen other models that meet so-called Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle standards, PZEV for short.

Not only can't you buy one, but the government says it's currently illegal for automakers to sell these green cars outside of the special states. Under terms of the Clean Air Act--in the kind of delicious irony only our government can pull off--anyone (dealer, consumer, automaker) involved in an out-of-bounds PZEV sale could be subject to civil fines of up to $27,500. Volvo sent its dealers a memo alerting them to this fact, noting that its greenest S40 and V50 models were only for the special states.

So, just how green is a PZEV machine? Well, if you just cut your lawn with a gas mower, congratulations, you just put out more pollution in one hour than these cars do in 2,000 miles of driving. Grill a single juicy burger, and you've cooked up the same hydrocarbon emissions as a three-hour drive in a Ford Focus PZEV. As the California Air Resources Board has noted, the tailpipe emissions of these cars can be cleaner than the outside air in smoggy cities.

That's amazing stuff. But what's more amazing is how few people have a clue that the gas-powered, internal combustion engine could ever be this clean.

Naturally, no company wants to bring too much attention to a car that most people can't buy, unless it's Ferrari. And there's the catch. PZEV models are already available from Toyota, Ford, Honda, GM, Subaru, Volvo and VW. They're scrubbed-up versions of familiar models, from the VW Jetta to the Subaru Outback. But chances are, you've never heard of them.

These cars aren't the only green leaf that's being dangled over our heads. The sweet-looking, sporty-handling Nissan Altima Hybrid borrows its hybrid system from the Toyota Camry, and sipped fuel at 32 mpg during my week-long test drive here in New York. But once again, if you'd love to buy the Nissan and burn less fuel, you're out of luck--unless you live in California or the Northeast.

It's not all the fault of the car companies. The crazy quilt of environmental regulations is forcing carmakers to design and build two versions of the same cars. And it costs real money to make a car this green. So in states where there are no regulations to force their hand,automakers don't want to have to boost their prices for the green versions--or to simply eat the extra cost and make less profit.

Honda appears to be doing just that. It currently charges Californians and other green-staters about $150 extra for these solid-citizen models. But experts suggest that it costs carmakers closer to $400 a pop to install the gear.

Another issue: The PZEV cars don't get any better mileage than conventional versions. Would most self-interested Americans even pay a lousy 100 bucks for cleaner air that doesn't put fuel savings back in their pocket? "With hybrids, the selling point is fuel economy, so there's a dollar amount on that," said William Walton, Honda's product planning chief for U.S. cars. "We want to give people the cleanest vehicles we can produce, but how much are people willing to pay for clean air?"

Then again, so what if Honda or others lose a few million at first? Toyota clearly went into the red on every Prius it sold in the early years, but shrewdly viewed that cash as an investment to create buzz and build a loyal following. Today, Toyota dealers can barely keep the Prius in stock--and the company has surrounded itself with a green halo that's priceless.

As often as automakers express envy and resentment over Toyota's image, you might think Honda would be filming TV ads, erecting billboards, shouting from rooftops that the Accord is the world's cleanest six-cylinder car. In the green game that Toyota has played like a chess master, it seems like this is a lost opportunity for Honda, Nissan and the rest to siphon off some of Toyota's goodwill.

So give Honda's talented engineers credit for this clean-burning Accord. But give its marketing department a big, smoggy raspberry for keeping it a virtual secret--and keeping it off-limits to buyers in 42 states.

Lawrence Ulrich lives in Brooklyn and writes about cars. His reviews and features appear regularly in The New York Times, Popular Science, Men's Vogue and Travel + Leisure Golf.by Lawrence Ulrich

Re:In Case Of /.ing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20466481)

Yeah, those weak and feeble MSN servers will crumble like a house of cards? Karma whore

Not so! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20466251)

My '07 rabbit, purchased in AZ is PZEV!
How you like them apples?

calling BS (1)

sdedeo (683762) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466257)

I'm going to call BS on this article. Every single story I can google takes this as the original source for the claim that PZEVs are illegal under the Clean Air Act, and there's no link to any government or advocacy website (you would assume environmental groups would be up in arms.)

One possible reason this is BS: the Clean Air Act is a Federal act, so can not vary from state to state?

One possible reason for the confusion: modifying the emissions control on your own car is illegal under the CAA, but that's covering people who I don't know, remove the catalytic converter or something -- not car makers who introduce new emissions-control facilities.

I'm going to call BS unless someone can provide a statement of this fact that does not originate with the autos.msn site.

Slightly misleading summary (3, Informative)

rabtech (223758) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466265)

This is slightly misleading, in that the law only says the vehicles manufactured for special markets must be limited to those special markets (for what byzantine reason I have no idea).

There is nothing preventing the car makers from releasing the same vehicles into all the other markets; they don't because the cars cost a little bit more ($150-$400 according to the article), but still get the same MPG even if the tailpipe emissions are almost nil. They don't believe consumers will pay the premium so they don't bother.

In other words, the manufacturers are free to produce the same exact car but instead of stamping "CALIFORNIA ONLY" on it and being unable to sell it outside that designated market, they can just sell it everywhere with no problem.

Okiday (0, Troll)

tom_75 (1013457) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466285)

Let us European tree huggers protect the planet. You just keep on rolling in your five-point-oh's and give us a call in 30 years or so, from below the heavy CO2 winter clouds.

Re:Okiday (1)

dtmancom (925636) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466391)

Yes, because the "CO2 winter clouds" will be strictly confined to North American territory.

c08 (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20466297)

my bedpost up my wall: *BSD f4ces a OpenBSD guys. They nois3s out of the FreeBSD at about 80

cost of certifications? (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466325)

Its a lot like our company could offer its software on 20-30 platforms (different CPUs, OS's and releases) at a time, but generally only the three most profitable. Recompilation to a new platform usually just takes hours at most, but we do exhaustive testing, spend months going through FTC export compliance, etc.

I beleive auto companies have to do the same with each new model- pollution controls, mileage claims, safety, etc. Honda Fits and Smart cars were delayed at least a year because of these certifications.

We don't need a federal law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20466439)

This is just a shallow attempt at getting the public all riled up against the feds so Congress can pass a uniform law about emmisions. 'Corse, we all know what happens to any emmisions laws in the Bush White House. Emmisions up = good. Emmisions down = bad.

We wouldn't want to "hurt" domestic auto manufacturers nwo would we?

Poorly-written article (3, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466447)

This article makes no sense. The writer describes these amazing new super-efficient cars but doesn't say anything about what makes them clean, other than saying that they don't get good gas mileage. Huh? Then he talks about the Toyota Camry Hybrid's 32 mpg as though that was amazing. Then he talks about how these cars can't be sold elsewhere, but doesn't cite the law that says so or give any reason why. There may be a story behind all this, but it isn't in this article.

PZEV is not what you might immediately think (1)

waterford0069 (580760) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466479)

Here's some more of the story on PZEV http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PZEV [wikipedia.org]

To quote the FA "The PZEV cars don't get any better mileage than conventional versions". It's not reducing the amount of carbon being put into the atmosphere. It's reducing the amount of unburned and partially burned fuel being released into the atmosphere (which is a good think to do in its self).

However, I think that labelling something a "Partial Zero Emission Vehicle" is deceptive. Better the label it something like "Ultra Low Smog Emission Vehicle" (ULSEV)

No Less CO2 (3, Insightful)

kramer2718 (598033) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466493)

According to the article:

Well, if you just cut your lawn with a gas mower, congratulations, you just put out more pollution in one hour than these cars do in 2,000 miles of driving.


But also:

The PZEV cars don't get any better mileage than conventional versions.


This is quite telling. If the PZEV cars get the same fuel efficiency as conventional vehicles, then they are consuming the same amount of carbon and putting the same amount of CO2 into the atmosphere.

So how can they be less polluting than a lawn mower? The article must NOT be including CO2 as a pollutant (the same view the Bush administration took of the Clean Air Act). So these vehicles probably emit less sulfur and nitrogen compounds and particulates, but the same amount of CO2.

HUH? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#20466495)

Less pollution (including CO2 presumably), but it gets the same gas mileage. Pollution is directly related to 2 items; the cleanliness of the fuel/air AND the efficiency of it. If the fuel is being burned 100% efficiently, it will use less fuel for the same distance. The side pollutants are an indication of loss of efficiencies.
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