March 26, 2009

I'm Taking Back Some Of The Things I Said I Liked About California

There are apparently people who are considering, with straight faces and serious, self-righteous attitudes, prohibiting new vehicles sold in California from being painted black. Why? Black cars cause more smog.

No, seriously.

Stop laughing. This is real.

See, black colored cars absorbs more heat than any other color. So that means that they get hotter when parked outside than other cars. (In fact, this is true.) Therefore, the air conditioner must work that much harder, and consume that much more fuel, and generate that much more air pollution.

What a great place to be a lawyer this state is -- there is no end to the half-baked ideas coming out of Sacramento, guaranteeing no end to the work available for us to do. Truly, of the many silly ideas for laws and regulations in California I've heard over the years, this is probably going to make the top ten.

Okay, some serious alternatives to this: How about, instead, we mandate annual tune-ups for heavy commercial vehicles like 18-wheelers and cement trucks and such? Or, I don't know, build another nuclear power plant and shut down a coal-burner? Or if we structure our registration fees so that there is a financial disincentive to driving around that old junker and instead work to replace it with something newer and more ecologically-efficient?

A call to greater environmental responsibility does not require an abandonment of common sense or a risible assault on consumers. The trick to making environmental responsibility work in the long run will be to dovetail environmental concerns with consumer demand. This, however, will polarize the public against, rather than reconcile the public, to the issue of reducing carbon emissions.

If I want a black car, I should be able to get a black car, damnit. You can have my black car painted white when you pry my cold, dead fingers off its steering wheel.

1 comment:

Arnie said...

When I lived in Southeast Florida, I worked in a company heavily populated with engineers. We too wondered whether the color of a car parked in sun affected how hot it got inside. We instrumented several cars of varied colors. At 4:00 PM, the black cars were indeed the hottest, but by just one or two degrees. Only the whitest of white cars were noticeably cooler, as much as 10 degrees. Therefore from my perspective, California should ban all cars except those that are extremely white. No beige, no pale yellow, no "winter wheat". That would be a sign they are serious about fighting pollution!!