California Regulators, Cutting Off GPS to Spite Their Economy

The Washington Times today editorializes on the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) latest act of reality-ignoring arrogance, a proposal to mandate reflective window glazings on vehicles to keep the vehicle insides cool. Turns out the materials block GPS and wireless signals and would add about $250 to the cost of each car and light truck.

From “Unhealthy CARB“:

The problem is that the new windows would reflect radio waves, thus highly compromising the use of GPS units, garage-door openers, laptop computers, satellite radio systems, parolee ankle bracelets, wireless medical equipment and cell phones. CARB admits the mandate would interfere with radio signals but is poised to promulgate the new rule later this month anyway. A 15-day public comment period would follow, during which alert consumers could overwhelm the bureaucrats with objections. …

The rule would be particularly infuriating because it’s unnecessary. Manufacturers have offered at least two other nonmetallic methods – using light-absorbing materials rather than reflecting materials – to reduce the warming effect of sunlight on cars. Those methods do not interfere with radio signals and are cheaper.

The San Diego Union Tribune earlier weighed in on the regulation, calling the CARB’s actions both farcical and a travesty. In its editorial, “Common sense-less,” the paper quotes veteran auto-industry analyst Drew Winter:

CARB regulators don’t know anything about the business of building and selling vehicles and only care about improving fuel economy. Unlike automotive engineers, they are not required to care about safety, durability, customer satisfaction or unintended consequences…

CARB regulators have forced positive change in the auto industry with tough regulatory actions for the past 30 years, but this new strategy of telling auto engineers how to hit fuel-economy targets in addition to mandating them is bizarre and potentially dangerous. CARB needs to give up trying to design vehicles or be stopped before its arrogance and ignorance cause real harm.

Of course. Everyone knows that designing cars is a job best left to Congress and the EPA.

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