updated 2/10/2008 4:45:20 PM ET 2008-02-10T21:45:20

General Motors Corp. CEO Rick Wagoner urged a group of auto dealers Saturday to lobby against individual states trying to set their own limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

Wagoner, speaking to the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in San Francisco, said several states want to go beyond requirements passed by Congress.

If that happens and automakers must focus on state regulations, they won’t be able to focus as much on alternative fuel vehicles to reduce oil consumption and pollution, he said.

“We’re not going to be able to accomplish everything that we otherwise could,” Wagoner said.

EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson in December denied a federal waiver that would have allowed California to enact its own law slashing greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks.

Other states could then have followed suit and 12 were ready to do so, with others making preparations.

Because global warming is an international phenomenon not unique to California, the state doesn’t need its own standards to meet “compelling and extraordinary conditions” as set out in the law, Johnson has said.

California’s law would have forced automakers to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by 30 percent in new cars and light trucks by 2016.

State officials contend it is stronger and would take effect more quickly than the new federal fuel efficiency law.

“We need to work together to educate policymakers at the state and local levels on the importance of tough but national standards,” Wagoner told the dealers group.

He also said dealers and automakers should push for infrastructure to handle new technologies including hydrogen and ethanol fueling stations and charging stations for electric vehicles.

About 10,000 auto dealers and their spouses are attending the four-day NADA convention.

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