At least, that’s the way it is in California, where the latest Mercedes-Benz crossover is: ILLEGAL.

It is, after all, California. That would be the California that is losing population, and industry, because of its high taxes and burdensome regulations, as well as its stratospheric home prices.

But the story goes deeper.

 Mercedes-Benz has been a leader in diesel emissions technology. Their latest is the ML 320 CDI, which is powered by a turbocharged diesel engine that puts out fewer “greenhouse” gases than any conventional gasoline engine and, using the ultra low sulfur diesel fuel mandated by the federal government last year, puts out a remarkably low level of particulates.

But that doesn’t matter in California.

California has not changed its regulations to deal with either the low sulfur fuel or state of the art technology in diesel engines.

Certain other states – Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, and new York - model their regulations on those of California.

So this new Mercedes is legal in only 45 of the 50 states.

Even though it is state of the art in pollution technology.

This, of course, is a result of the federal government’s failure to enforce its regulations and assert its power. One of the core reasons that the Constitution was adopted concerned commerce between the states. The Founding Fathers are often idealized a heroes who saw a more civilized society. In truth, though, many of them were acutely aware of the importance of commerce. 

Preventing one state from interfering with the sale of products from another state was a big part of the reason we became the “United” States.

But, California has been allowed to play games with interstate commerce since the 1960’s. By adopting its own regulations, rather than adhering to the federal regulations, California has repeatedly made the price of a car higher than it should be. 

In the 1970’s, manufacturers had to create two versions of all the vehicles the produced: a California version and a “49 State” version.

Obviously, the situation is not improving.

But, as is too often typical, the government in California is mandating that a vehicle that produces less harmful emissions than its competition cannot be sold in the state, thereby forcing residents of California to buy a vehicle that pollutes more.

Way to go Arnold.


What do you think?
Show Comments


  (780) posted on 10.12.2010

So sad to hear, But i like the idea of the California at least they help in diminishing the global warming.

tango  (372) posted on 08.16.2007

It’s just unfortunate that no manufacturer will put its foot down and refuse to sell any vehicles in California. When the population starts riding bicycles to Chinese Theatre events then perhaps things would change. Until then though, California "will be back" with more and more archaic laws and regulations, thus "terminating" freedom of choice. "Hasta la vista", California.

Car Finder: