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Dark cars banned

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PostSubject: Dark cars banned   Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:18 am

If California regulators get their way, auto makers may soon be forced
to rewrite a cliché from the Ford Model T era and start telling
customers they can have any color they want as long as it isn’t black.

Some darker hues will be available in place of black, but right now
they are indentified internally at paint suppliers with names such as
“mud-puddle brown” and are truly ugly substitutes for today’s rich
ebony hues.

So buy a black car now, because soon they won’t be available or will
look so putrid you won’t want one. And that’s too bad, because paint
suppliers say black is the second- or third-most popular vehicle color
around the world.

The problem stems from a new “cool paints” initiative from the
California Air Resources Board. CARB wants to mandate the phase-in of
heat-reflecting paints on vehicle exteriors beginning with the ’12
model year, with all colors meeting a 20% reflectivity requirement by
the ’16 model year.

Because about 17 other states tend to follow California’s regulatory
lead, as many as 40% of the vehicles sold in the U.S. could be impacted
by the proposed directive, suppliers say.
The measure is aimed at reducing carbon-dioxide emissions and improving
fuel economy by keeping vehicles cooler on sunny days and decreasing
the amount of time drivers use their air conditioners.

The rationale goes like this: Vehicle AC units sap engine power and
hurt fuel economy. If vehicle paint and glass reflect more heat, car
interiors will be cooler. That means drivers will use their AC units
less, the compressors won’t have to work as hard and auto makers will
be able to use smaller AC units in the future.

Reflective coatings and glazing (glass) already have proven to save
energy when used on buildings, and this legislation is based on
architectural standards.

On the surface, it’s not a bad idea, but fundamental issues reveal
profoundly flawed legislation: Buildings and vehicles are manufactured
and recycled differently, and no one buys a building based on its color.

Another troublesome fact: Heat-reflecting paints for black and other dark colors on vehicles have not been invented yet.

Paint suppliers also say heat-reflecting pigments that could be used
in automotive applications contain toxic heavy metals that cause
environmental damage and create health and safety issues during
manufacturing and recycling.

At least one auto maker estimates the additional cost of using these
paints at $100 per car, not counting required changes to assembly plant
painting systems, which could be significant.

So far, auto makers are holding their tongues on this subject, but
automotive paint suppliers, such as PPG Industries, are tearing their
hair out.

“PPG obviously has a very large architectural division that paints lots
of buildings,” says Connie Poulsen, global director-product management,
at PPG. “The theory when (CARB) started this was you take the pigments
used in buildings and put them into car paints. That’s a good theory;
unfortunately it doesn’t quite work that easily. Believe me, we tested
it right away.”

“Requirements for color palettes are different, the process is
different, the pigments used are different,” Poulsen says, adding that
new automotive paint systems also have to undergo two years of rigorous
testing before being approved for production. That’s yet another item
government bureaucrats never considered – along with 3-year product
lead times.

Some California rules are problematic because they are utopian and
unworkable. This legislation is flat-out lazy. It’s a cut-and-paste job
from the state building code that ignores smarter, more-effective
automotive solutions already in production or on the way, such as more
efficient AC units and solar-powered ventilation fans that work
automatically when a car is parked in the sun.

Struggling auto makers and suppliers must not be forced to waste their
limited resources on the cool paints initiative, an ill-informed
wasteful boondoggle that embarrasses the environmental movement.
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PostSubject: Re: Dark cars banned   Sat Apr 04, 2009 2:54 am

This state has lost it No
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