Auto Emissions

Auto Emissions

As long as automobiles have existed, they have spewed dangerous toxins into the air. The content and volume of these emissions have changed over the years. When leaded gasoline was the norm, the blood lead levels of the American population were significantly higher than they are today. Before catalytic converters, smog was an even worse problem, especially in car-heavy cities like Los Angeles. Currently, America's cars contribute to a staggering one-fifth of our nation’s carbon emissions and almost half of global automotive carbon emissions. 

Cry Wolf Quotes

If we sell too many big cars in any quarter in 1978, we’ll have to hold back our product mix and we’ll have to ration or allocate cars. The law is final now, but if enough people complain when they can’t get a big car, maybe the government will revise its legislation. To meet 27.5 m.p.g. by ’85, the average weight of cars will have to be about 3,200 pounds versus 4,000 pounds now. That means every car would be a compact, subcompact, or smaller. The new law implies that we must get better fuel economy between 1980 and 1985 then between 1978 and 1980. That’s unlikely.

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Charles Heinen, Director of Emissions and Fuel Economy Certification for Chrysler, Chicago Tribune.

If we sell too many big cars, we’ll have to stop building them. Then we’ll have to ram small cars down consumers’ throats and use dealer incentives to get rid of them so that we can build big cars again. The public is going to rebel because these hard-to-get big cars will then sell for full list or higher when the small cars are being given away.

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Sid Terry, VP of Public Responsibility and Consumer Affairs for Chrysler, Chicago Tribune.

The people in this room have the same amount of lead in their blood as do the natives in New Guinea. If you take lead out of the air, you’ll still have it in your body.

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George Rausch, a professor from Tulane University, The Los Angeles Times.

It would cost us more to produce high octane, unleaded fuel; it would cost the consumer more to buy it; and it would cost the country more in terms of its overall consumption of crude oil.

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Leo McReynolds, research director for Phillips. The Los Angeles Times.

Evidence

Backgrounders & Briefs

The Success of CAFE Standards

How the CAFE standard and its successes.

The Secret History of Lead

This immense article is an intricately detailed history of leaded gasoline, from the industry's early cover-ups to their attempts to defeat EPA regulations.

The Removal of Lead From Gasoline: Historical and Personal Reflections

First-person historical analysis of the leaded gasoline fight.