Sticking to its guns in the face of continued auto industry pressure to kill California's zero emissions vehicle rules, the state Air Resources Board said Thursday that it will formally reject a petition by General Motors Corp. to suspend the so-called ZEV mandate for five years.
That leaves GM with few options: sue, comply or persuade the state Legislature to overturn the air board's Jan. 25 decision to require major auto makers to begin providing a small number of zero-emissions vehicles for sale in California beginning in 2003.
GM had proposed instead to conduct a five-year market test of consumer acceptance of zero-emissions vehicles--a description that, so far, fits only battery-powered electric cars and trucks.
"We haven't seen the rejection yet and we're going to need to know why they are denying us before we decide how to respond," said GM spokesman Donn Walker.
Most observers had expected the board to reject the car maker's proposal because it is nearly a carbon copy of a similar plan floated in December by the Washington-based Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and rejected by the board last month.