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Air Regulators Postpone Fuel-Cell Vehicle Rules

California air regulators stopped short today of rewriting a rule that would require automakers to mass produce pollution-free cars.

The California Air Resources Board postponed making a decision on revised regulations that would spell the end of the electric car and pave the way for the fuel cell vehicle. Board members could not reach a decision on a quota for alternative fuel vehicles to replace the mandate it set 13 years ago. The board´s staff says the proposal reflects the reality that fuel cells will power the car of the future and that battery powered cars were a flop.

Electric car drivers and environmentalists say the revised rules would go too far in scrapping those cars and would let automakers escape their obligation to build clean cars.

The board will take up the issue next month.