The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is also pursuing CO2 standards for MY 2017-25 cars and trucks. CARB intends to coordinate its action with the EPA and NHTSA, along with the automakers and other stakeholders, with the goal of setting a single national standard. Federal regulators intend to issue a "game plan" for MY 2017-25 light-duty vehicles by September 2010 and adopt a final rule by mid-2012, while CARB officials want to complete action on the CO2 standards by the end of 2010.
Drastically increased CAFE potentially limits consumer choice if manufacturers are forced to make smaller, less powerful, and less useful cars and light-duty vehicles in order to meet government fuel economy demands. Market-based solutions must be employed which allow the consumer to participate in and respond to national energy policies.
Lighting Equipment Advances & Government Regulations: Issues Affecting the Automotive Aftermarket
Lighting technology has entered a new dimension. Light emitting diodes, for example, are blazing a new path from taillamps to headlamps. Car lamps can now produce light beams that bend around corners, lengthen when the car is going fast and shorten and widen when the car slows down. The aftermarket industry is on the leading edge of these technological advances that promote safety and provide styling alternatives for new lighting products. Much of this innovative aftermarket equipment for cars, trucks, and SUVs provides greater road illumination and creates increased visibility. Federal and state regulators are working to keep current with these advances and also confirm that new products comply with existing regulations.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the federal agency that regulates original and aftermarket motor vehicle lighting products, including newer technologies coming into the marketplace. Attention has been focused on non-compliant High Intensity Discharge (HID) conversion kits that may produce glare and restyled combination lamps that are missing required functions existing on the original equipment lamps. Certain clear taillamp covers, marker lamps, certain "blue" headlamp bulbs, and other equipment has also been subject to scrutiny.
Optional lighting equipment (non-federally required) is not prohibited by federal law, but is sometimes regulated by the states. Many states establish optional lighting restrictions through the authority of the state police or the state transportation agency.
State-level enforcement of federally required lighting equipment can not deviate from what is prescribed by the federal government. This is called federal preemption. However, states are free to enact and enforce safety and equipment regulations which are identical to the federal safety standards. States also have jurisdiction to enact and enforce vehicle equipment and safety regulations covering equipment not regulated at the federal level, such as "optional" or "accessory" lighting equipment. Some states prohibit a vehicle from being equipped with a lamp or lighting device unless such lamp or lighting device is expressly required or permitted by law or regulation. Other states may regulate optional lighting equipment for maximum candlepower, location and placement, aim of light beam and the times, places and conditions under which the lamps or lights may be used. They may prohibit the use of flashing, oscillating, modulating, or rotating lights of any color while the vehicle is being operated on a public highway.