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Cars to bear emission ratings

June 28, 2008|Scott J. Wilson

New cars for sale in California will soon come with a special feature: a window sticker showing how much they pollute.

The new labels, displaying each model's smog and greenhouse gas emissions on a 1-to-10 scale, will be required beginning Jan. 1 under a California Air Resources Board regulation.

The goal, officials say, is to help car shoppers identify low-polluting vehicles.

"Consumer choice is an especially powerful tool in our fight against climate change," said Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the Air Resources Board.

Each car model will get two scores -- one for smog and a "Global Warming" rating for greenhouse gases. The cleanest vehicles will get a 10, the dirtiest a 1.

The Honda Civic hybrid, for example, will get a 9 for smog and a 10 for greenhouse gases, whereas the Ford E-250 Econoline van scores a 1 in both categories. The Toyota 4Runner falls in the middle, with a 5 for both.

Although the stickers are not required until January, the makers of some low-polluting vehicles who are eager to show off their scores may start using them as early as next month, said Dimitri Stanich, spokesman for the Air Resources Board.

The board has a website, at www.driveclean.ca.gov, that provides information on zero- and near-zero-emission cars.

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