June 26, 2009 in Nation/World

California tells carmakers to use reflecting windows

Samantha Young Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Tim James, of Pittsburgh Glass Works, carries a sun-reflecting windshield for display at a meeting of the California Air Resources Board in Sacramento, Calif., on Thursday.
(Full-size photo)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California air regulators voted unanimously Thursday for a mandate requiring auto manufacturers to include sun-reflecting glass on all vehicles sold within the state by 2014.

The move by the California Air Resources Board was intended to keep cars, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles cooler during hot weather, reducing the use of air conditioning.

That was expected to improve fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The end result of it is the customer gets a car that’s more comfortable to ride in, air conditioners don’t have to work as hard, and the atmosphere will be happier because we won’t be emitting as much carbon dioxide,” said board chairwoman Mary Nichols.

The auto industry complained about the expense but won an extra year to comply with the first phase of the regulation. Automakers also will be allowed to find other ways to cool down cars to avoid a tougher window standard to be phased in after 2014. The board gave automakers more time to meet the standards after representatives for Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group LLC, Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. lined up to ask the board to extend the deadline.

“We don’t have a lot of spare resources right now,” said Steven Douglas, senior director of environmental affairs for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

California has been a leader for decades in setting auto standards. Its mandates have often brought changes throughout the industry as automakers move to capture the state’s huge market.

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