When it comes to clean cars, the Bush administration is in the slow lane. After scuttling the Clinton-era program to develop fuel-efficient vehicles, it then proposed increasing federal fuel-economy standards by a measly 1.5 miles per gallon by 2007. But it really hit the brakes when California tried to clean up its own air. In October, the federal government filed a brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, endorsing a lawsuit that General Motors and DaimlerChrysler filed against the state. The feds support the automakers argument that California has no right to require them to sell "zero emission" cars starting this yeareven after the state said it would let automakers meet part of the new requirements with fuel-efficient hybrids and other low-emission vehicles. The Bush administration claims that since the simplest way to make cars run cleaner is to make them more fuel-efficient, California is violating the federal governments right to set (very low) fuel-economy standards.