Mario Cuomo, that is.
In a decision that environmentalists contend will provide a major boost to the nation's tiny market in electric cars, a Federal judge ruled today that New York State can order automobile manufacturers to sell thousands of electrically powered vehicles in the state beginning this fall.
The ruling by Judge Lawrence E. Kahn of Federal District Court in Albany upholds a six-year-old state rule requiring that 2 percent of all vehicles sold during the 1998 model year, which begins on Oct. 1, be powered by electricity. The quota gradually increases to 10 percent by 2003.
That's right - by 2003, a full ten percent of cars sold in the Empire State were supposed to be coal-powered. As we recall, the rules actually mandated that ten percent of new cars in stock on dealer lots had to be electric.
However, like unicorns, marketplace-viable electric cars never appeared. By 1995, rino governor George Pataki was reluctantly retreating from the fantasy.
Amid a strenuous lobbying campaign by the oil and auto industries, Gov. George E. Pataki is hinting that he may push back the state's deadline for auto makers to begin selling electric cars in New York State, now just over two years away.
His decision could have an important effect on whether the auto industry will sell electric cars or other fuel-efficient vehicles across the rest of the nation. And the auto makers are pressing for a decision in the next few weeks so they can have time to prepare.
Under antipollution rules written during the administration of Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, major auto companies must sell a quota of electric cars starting in New York in 1998. But the auto makers contend that a commercially viable electric car does not exist, and they have been pressing Mr. Pataki to push back, if not eliminate, the deadline.