Post by Alan Baker
What is interstate commerce about setting standards for products sold
within a particular state?
The Feds passed the Clean Air Acts on the premise that pollution
doesn't respect state boundaries, and even if a car manufacturer
only sold a model within one state, it can't control the secondary
market, so the original owner might drive it across state lines and
sell it there. 50 separate sets of standards could turn into
"anti-pollution" rules that were really barriers to entry from out-
of-state firms. Strict safety and pollution standards as a de
facto import quota or ban was a trick the Japanese manufacturers
used to block competitors from overseas.
When the CAA was first passed people from underpopulated and remote
states like Wyoming or Montana argued that they didn't have enough
vehicular traffic to make smog a problem, and shouldn't have to
follow the same rules. "What, you are never going to drive to
Denver?" was a good response to that.
Harmonizing safety and pollution regs was one of the benefits of
EC/European Union. I worked in a plant manufacturing equipment
for commercial restaurants one winter 40+ years ago. We had to
make separate "export versions" that would pass certification in
the target markets we were selling them to. Doing the same one
for all the EEC companies was really good for business. If the
US and EEC specs had been the same, that would have been even better.
CA setting its own car standard is a very large, very strong tail
trying to wag the dog. Sacramento could just ban IC engines, and
demand that everybody who packs up the old 4-banger and moves to San
Jose junk it once they establish residence, or sell it out-of-state.
There is that nasty "full faith and credit" clause of the Constitution,
which might prevent the Golden State from banning IC vehicles registered
in other states from driving on interstates and US Highways within CA,
that allow one to travel between states.