Reader Question: West Coast Cars vs. Other State Cars?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply! 

Carol asks: Is there any significant difference in the emission controls that impacts performance? My son wants me to wait until after I move to Texas to buy my new, or new to me, car. Good idea?

My reply: There used to be a big difference – when there were “49 state” and “California” emissions – and cars – for each part of the country. The “California” cars often had additional emissions equipment (e.g., an air injection reaction/AIR pump) or lacked equipment available in the other 49 states (e.g., a manual transmission or a larger engine).

Today, however, there isn’t much meaningful difference because CA effectively dictates national emissions standards. The car companies just build their cars to meet the CA standard (which is also the standard in several other states, which adopted the same standard) rather than build two versions of the same car, one for CA and the other for outside CA.

That said, there is still good reason to wait. It is expensive to buy a car in CA. Not so much the car but the government “morditas” which attend the purchase, such as sales taxes and registration, etc.  I would check to see how much you’d pay to buy the car in CA – including all the add-ons imposed by the government – and compare that with what you’ll pay in Texas and then decide accordingly!

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Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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