Sacramento, California – California has mandated that, starting in 2012, all new cars sold in the state will have to include window glass that reflects or absorbs heat-producing rays from the sun.

The California Air Resources Board (ARB), which adopted the regulation, said that the mandate will help keep cars cooler, increase their fuel efficiency, and reduce global warming pollution. By reducing the use of air conditioning, the ARB said that the glass will prevent about 700,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere by 2020.

“This is a common-sense and cost-effective measure that will help cool the cars we drive and fight global warming,” said ARB chairman Mary Nichols. “It represents the kind of innovative thinking we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our vehicles and steer our economy toward a low-carbon future.”

The regulation has two steps. Over a 3-year period, starting in 2012, windows in new cars sold in California must prevent 45 per cent of the sun’s total heat-producing energy from entering the car, with the windshield rejecting at least 50 per cent of the sun’s energy. In 2016, manufacturers will be required to install new windows that prevent at least 60 per cent of the heat-producing rays from entering the car’s interior, or propose alternative technologies to achieve a similar result.

The ARB estimates that costs for the windows will average US$70 for the 2012 standard, and about $250 for the 2016 standard. Savings in gasoline would be recouped over a 5- to 12-year period.

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