Will the Terminator’s Plan Backfire?

Governor Terminator of California wants to set his own auto emissions standards for his state. I assume he thinks this will drive the other states to follow (I believe 11 other states are now involved). Both the Big 3 and some of the foreign carmakers are less than thrilled with this concept.

Ignoring legal and regulatory problems for a moment, could this backfire on the Terminator?

The easiest way to meet this standard would be to limit the types of vehicles sold in California. Companies could limit sales to Corolla size and under, and refuse to sell pickup trucks, vans, or SUVs in the land of fruits and nuts. This would limit consumer choice and hurt auto industry profits (foreign and domestic).

Imagine for a moment operating a construction company with Chevy Aveos or
Toyota Matrixs.

The business response would have to be to upsize to commercial vehicles that are in different categories and probably pollute more. The obvious replacement for a construction company pickup would be a 1 ton flatbed, for example.

This would also be an incentive to keep older vehicles running past the normal service life.

Imagine the Oscar’s with celebrities arriving in Toyota Corollas. Imagine the screams of indignation from the celebrity crowd.

Imagine Paris Hilton in a Prius!

Rep. John Dingell (D., Michigan) is working to push through a compromise bill in Congress that would provide something for every interest group and shut down the Terminator.

Can this be a win-win? or are we headed for a lose-lose?