Who checks NOx output once the model/engine combination passes manufacturer's EPA testing? Does even CA perform a sniff test of diesels? MA, one of the other four that have adopted CA's emissions standards does not. I haven't even been checked for opacity or percent smoke output, never mind CO, HC, CO2. And that in a gasser with a diesel swap.
The limits on other emissions for gasoline powered vehicles are in parts per hundred (%) or per million (ppm), not mass per mile.
Yeah, the real problem is that it still is handled by states like that. We need a federal-run program that could tie the country together with rail. I still think that Americans are too spread out for that to ever work though. Our population density just isn't suited to rail.
I agree with the Federal Rail system, but I think you have it entirely backwards that the US is too big for rail to be much use. Long distances are perfect for rail, and transcontinental rail is much cheaper than transcontinental trucking. If anything, the country is too big for trucks.
There are actualy truckers that drive cross country to deliver the equivalent of ONE rail car's worth of goods. That's simpy crazy.
I've often thought that a hybrid rail-truck system would be best. Ship trucks on trains and then offload them and use the trucks to deliver locally (or regionally). Of course the most efficient system would be to ship containers that became trailers to be delivered locally by local tractors, but the trucking industry is too conservative to give up their way of life. Loading trucks onto rail cars like those used to transport trucks through the Channel Tunnel would be a good compromise. The truckers could hang out in the club/sleeping cars and socialize rather than spending days clogging the roads and wasting fuel. When they get to a rail hub near thier destination their trucks are simply offloaded and new trucks loaded.
A truck getting 5 MPG travelling 2,000 miles uses 400 gallons of fuel. At $4/gallon that's $1,600 in fuel alone! The true cost (oil, tires, maintenance, depreciation, tolls, road taxes, tickets, etc) would probably be more like $4,000. What trucker wouldn't pay $1,000 to have him and his truck shipped the same distance (zero miles on the odometer) while watching satellite TV in the lounge car?
As for passenger cars, do the same for them. There used to be that service between NY and Florida called the CarTrain.