Would a global vehicle emission standard make sense? After all, as Automotive News writer Richard Truett points out, "Clean air is clean air no matter what continent it blows over." But, while attending a recent automotive industry conference in Traverse City, MI, Truett heard Chris Gundler, the director of the EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality, respond to a question about the US and European Union adopting uniform emissions standards, and Gunder responded that he doesn't think that will ever happen.

"The impact of disparate emissions and fuel-economy standards is one of the industry's best-kept secrets."

Truett writes that, at least for policymakers in North America and Europe, the advantages of adopting uniform standards on CO2 and NOx emissions for gasoline and diesel engines just aren't there yet. But there would be clear business strategies that automakers would gain from a single standard, to say nothing of the climate change implications. Truett points out that a global set of rules would likely lower component costs because of higher production and simplified manufacturing processes. Bob Lee, head of engine, powertrain and electrified propulsion systems engineering for Chrysler Group, put in his two cents on the issue. The variation in the international standards taps into engineering resources and slows down the development process, which drives up costs. "The impact of disparate emissions and fuel-economy standards is one of the industry's best-kept secrets," Lee said.

There's a lot to think about here – such as whether global automakers really want tough emissions standards at all - so check out the article for more on a question that really needs to be answered more often.