California Cars, Air Cleaner, Smog Alerts Down
SACRAMENTO– California automobiles produce fewer emissions than those they replace and California's air has grown progressively cleaner with far fewer smoggy days over the past two decades, according to data from the California Air Resources Board (ARB).
The state's large population, number of vehicles, warm weather and unique air basins make many parts of California ideal for producing smog. That is why California started earlier and works harder than other regions of the nation to control air pollution. California has the nation's most stringent emission standards for motor vehicles and many other products that produce smog-forming emissions.
"Clear progress can be seen -- people who have lived here any length of time realize there's less smog than before," said Michael Kenny, ARB Executive Officer. "We have the cleanest cars, the cleanest-burning fuel, we even have the cleanest lawnmowers," he said. Kenny pointed out some of the areas where California has made significant progress in reducing air pollution:
- Ozone has decreased approximately two-thirds in the last 20 years.
- Fewer Smog Alerts (Stage One Alerts in the Los Angeles Air Basin):
1999 to Today
- California has the most stringent automobile anti-smog standards in the U.S. (Our cars are built to those standards.) Compare a typical car from the mid-70s with a similar car in today's showroom: Today's car is 98% cleaner than the car of the '70s.
- California power plants produced energy in 2001 that had 20% less oxides of nitrogen per unit of power produced compared to power produced in 2000. (Oxides of nitrogen are a major precursor to ozone formation). The State of California and local air districts insisted on up-to-date pollution control equipment on both new and retrofitted power plants. The pollution reduction is largely attributed to that equipment and the inherent advantages of newer plants. (As examples, a new combined-cycle plant is three times cleaner than an older plant with selective catalytic reduction "SCR" pollution control equipment and 35 times cleaner than a plant without SCR.)
"It's obvious that our job is not over. With our population growing and the world's fifth largest economy we have to energize people and develop new technology to keep making progress for cleaner air," said Kenny.