End to Jeep Wrangler soft-tops in California?

New environmental regulations to be implemented in California would require special auto glass to reflect heat and reduce the need for air-conditioning. The law may require Chrysler to stop selling soft-top Wranglers and only offer the hard top, full-glass version of the popular Jeep. The regulations could also limit cell phone, GPS and other radio signals.

The concept is to use some sort of new fandangled (it’s in the Urban Dictionary) glass with reflective property to keep the interior of the car cooler so the driver won’t be cranking up the air conditioning and disturbing the planet.

From the Detroit News

The California Air Resources Board has adopted a new “Cool Cars” regulation ordering advanced glazing of windows to block the sun’s heat and reduce the need for air conditioning. Windows must be coated with microscopic specks of metal oxide to reflect sunlight. …

Some companies worry that the new requirements haven’t been fully tested. In a Sept. 22 letter, Garmin International Inc., the California Manufacturers and Technology Association and the International Bridge, Tunnel & Turnpike Association warned that “more time was needed to assess the impact” of the rules.

They noted that “ankle bracelets for parolees,” along with cell phone calls and laptops, “may be adversely affected by the metallic reflective standard” because the signals “must be able to penetrate the glazing in vehicles.”

Garmin’s initial testing said the signals from GPS devices were degraded.

Of course, the popular soft-top Jeep Wrangler, driven by Sound Off Connecticut host Jim Vicevich and thousands of other enthusiasts, does not have glass windows, but an isinglass (clear plastic) material that rolls up. If the regulations are implemented with a zero tolerance policy, that’s the end of soft-tops in sunny California.

“The very popular Jeep Wrangler fitted with a soft convertible top uses flexible roll-up side windows which are not capable of meeting the side window standard,” Ross Good, Chrysler’s senior manager of government relations told the board. “Outlawing the soft top would require us to use the hard-top vehicle with the hard windows, which would add significant weight to the vehicle.”

No “gotta go green” article is complete without tossing in a bunch of bunk statistics about the equivalent number of cars that would be off the road when and if they implement the new regulations. Who comes up with this crap and how the heck do they even attempt to justify their calculations?

Air conditioning burns more gasoline and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. California says its regulation will save 700,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2020, which is equivalent to taking 140,000 cars off the road for a year.


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Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. Dimsdale on October 20, 2009 at 11:15 am

    It may be unintentional but this metal impregnated glass will make cars more visible to police radar.   I am sure that is just a coincidence, and the government will not pursue a course of increasing fines for "dangerous" driving, i.e. revenue enhancement.


    Once again, the liberals try to reach the Shangri-la of a risk free society.  Pretty soon, our cars will be like our buildings: climate controlled by the government and the windows won't open.


    Hang onto that Jeep, Jim!  It will be a collector's item thanks to the nanny statists!

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