Smog Study Confirms Vast Improvement in Auto Emissions

L.A.’s air is 70 percent cleaner than in 1970.

By EGP News Report

Air pollution from cars and trucks in Los Angeles and across California has dropped more than 85 percent since 1975 due to clean-air policies, according to a report issued Tuesday.

The new report comes just one week after California voters defeated a statewide ballot to delay implementation of tougher pollution standards contained in AB 32, California’s landmark air pollution control bill, until the state’s unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent for a full year.

“Clean Cars in California: Four Decades of Progress in the Unfinished Battle to Clean Up Our Air” by Environment California Research & Policy Center documents how emissions policies have helped reduce smog in Los Angeles, San Diego and elsewhere.

Since 1980, peak smog levels have dropped by 70 percent in the Los Angeles area and 50 percent in the San Diego area, according to the study.

“California’s efforts to reduce air pollution from cars and trucks have made the state’s air cleaner than it has been in decades and Californians are healthier as a result,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, clean energy advocate for Environment California. “The technologies found on new car lots today were practically unimaginable even 20 years ago, much less 40 years ago. Yet thanks to strong policies, California has pushed the auto industry to innovate and engineer a greener, cleaner car.”

Proponents of Proposition 23, the ballot measure to postpone AB 32, argued that current standards were already having a positive impact on the state’s air quality, but new tougher standards would kill jobs and raise energy prices.

Opponents countered that delaying the new standards would set California back, and harm the state’s burgeoning green technology industry, and also cause job losses.

While it is not clear which of the two scenarios will ultimately play out, the auto industry appears to be continuing its expansion into developing more energy efficient vehicles.

On Friday, the L.A. Auto Show will open at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and the focus this year will be on the latest in electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars.

The study’s finding were significant insomuch that the emissions were reduced over the years, while the number of miles driven more than doubled.

In 1980, California had about 11 million cars on the road, each traveling an average of 33 miles per day. Today, California has about 25 million cars, each traveling an average 35 miles per day, according to the study.

In the 1960s, the study states, a typical new car produced about a ton of smog-forming pollution every 100,000 miles.

Today, under California’s Clean Car standards, a typical new car is more than 99 percent cleaner burning, producing about 10 pounds of smog-forming emissions driven over the same distance, Environment California determined.

California’s vehicle air pollution standards have been extremely effective,” said Mary Nichols, head of the Air Resources Board.  “Today’s cars are 99 percent cleaner than cars from the ‘60s, saving lives, saving money and improving overall quality of life for millions of Californians.”

Contains information from City News Service.

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November 18, 2010  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.


3 Responses to “Smog Study Confirms Vast Improvement in Auto Emissions”

  1. Charlie Peters on November 19th, 2010 3:07 pm

    Jonathan Sanchez has never found out if the fault in a Smog Check failed car gets fixed.

  2. Charlie Peters on November 19th, 2010 3:08 pm

    Mary Nichols, CARB Chair, on AB32 global warming performance.

  3. Charlie Peters on January 25th, 2012 1:43 am

    Gerald Secundy, the President and CEO of the California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance discusses air quality and transportation projects, environmental justice, and climate change.

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