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California to Require Auxiliary Pedal Power System by 2008
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LOS ANGELES, California - California air regulators Friday unanimously approved the world's most stringent rules to reduce auto emissions that contribute to global warming -- a move that will force automakers to add pedal power to 25% of their 2008 sales. "This is 25% of sales," stated California Air Resources Board president Harmony Milano, "Not just some Cozy Coupe they flash around at car shows. Fully 25% of what they sell must be human powered." The requirements state that the vehicle must be a gas or electric hybrid deriving no less than 40% of its power from its occupants.

"Nobody's going to buy a freaking Kettle Kar!"
-- Glenn Bergman, AAM Spokesman
"Of course we'll fight this lunacy," said Glenn Bergman, a spokesman for the industry trade group Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, "Nobody's going to buy a freaking Kettle Kar! If we have to simply exclude California from our market, then so be it." Breaking with the pack, however, Ford privately admitted it has been researching human-powered vehicles for some time. "Frankly, we've seen this coming," said Ford researcher Allan Bradley, "We've got some surprises to share with the good, clean people of California." Details are scarce, but insiders say the vehicles tap the body's own energy conversion mechanisms, bypassing the musculature. How this could be accomplished remains to be seen.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has expressed support for the proposals and has pledged to fight any lawsuits. "Clean air is necessary for a strong, healthy body," intoned the Governor, "If these 'Girlie Men' at the AAM are unwilling to stand up to the challenge of making it safe to breathe, then they are unfit to breathe California's air. I would welcome their boycott."

Californians seem torn on the issue of pedal cars. "I wouldn't buy one," said one Pew Research poll respondent, "I buy cars to have them drag my fat, pathetic body around. The last thing I want to do is put any effort into it." Others were more supportive. Representative of that group is Carmen Davis, division manager for a small manufacturing company, "I already ride a bike to work most days, but it's hard when I have a lot of stuff to haul. A car that gives me exercise would be just the ticket."

Automakers argued that the regulations would raise new vehicle costs as much as $35,000. But the CAR Board disputed that and said the cost would top out at about $15,000 per vehicle by 2016. "I don't know that I'd be willing to pay forty grand for a pedal car," admitted Davis, "Unless it was just way too cute. Like one of those Mini's. Or maybe a Beetle."
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