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Court Fight Likely Over Auto Air Pollution

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California´s pacesetting regulations are again at the center of a national debate, this time over the role of increasingly affordable and popular hybrid vehicles.

The Bush administration is joining automakers in a court fight against California air pollution and vehicle efficiency standards they fear will spread to other states. But California regulators and environmental groups say there´s no need to wait to battle the state´s legendary air pollution, because the technology exists now. The California Air Resource Board´s staff is considering adding new requirements for “hybrid” or “partial” zero emission vehicles that boost efficiency and cut pollution.