The California Air Resources Board put tough restrictions on off-road trucks three years ago based on estimating such machines burned 1 million gallons of diesel a year. Its estimates were off 340%, and now CARB has to weaken its rules.
Turns out it's not the first time CARB has miscounted how much pollution vehicles make and been forced to redo regulations because of it. Such miscues matter well beyond California because CARB essentially has veto power over nationwide fuel economy regulations, thanks to a nettle of laws that makes "Bleak House" seem like "Hop on Pop."
The short version: If the panel wants cars and trucks to get 62 mpg on average by 2025, the maximum suggested by the Obama administration, the federal government can either acquiesce or face the prospect of California setting its own standard, which would be copied by a dozen other states.
Thankfully, officials at CARB like chairwoman Mary Nichols will use this event as a teachable moment to re-examine their assumptions and...wait, what's that?
Nichols was emphatic, though, when asked whether she has concerns about other scientific calculations made by air board scientists.
"No, no, no, no, no, no, no and no," she said.