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California Emission Regulations Changed

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State air regulators have weakened the nation´s toughest auto emissions regulation.

The California Air Resources Board voted eight to three Thursday to adopt new rules promoting technologies that have emerged since it passed its revolutionary pollution-free vehicle requirement 13 years ago.

The revision calls for large numbers of cleaner gas-burning vehicles, thousands of gas-electric hybrids and a small number of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the next five years. The vote is the latest setback for the so-called zero emission vehicle rule. The changes reflect the reality that electric cars never achieved their promise and automakers refused to mass produce them. Board Chairman Alan Lloyd called on carmakers to embrace the new rules, but a spokesman for Ford says fuel cell quotas will be challenged.