California Needs Clean Cars for Cleaner Air!
Nothing is more important than freeing ourselves from oil—for public health, economic, environmental, and national security reasons. California relies on petroleum fuels for 97% of our transportation fuel, which holds us hostage to volatile oil prices. In fact, spikes in oil prices have preceded the last four recessions. Meanwhile, Californians spend $82 million every day on gasoline and diesel fuel, and with worldwide demand for oil steadily increasing, the price has nowhere to go but up.
If we don’t raise vehicle standards, we will continue to be addicted to oil. The solution is to get smarter about how much oil we use.
Advanced Clean Cars Will Reduce Dangerous Air Pollutants, and Improve California’s Air Quality and Economy
The Health of Women and Children
Despite progress made in recent decades, California is still home to some of the dirtiest air in the nation—and passenger cars and trucks are a leading cause. Our children and seniors are especially vulnerable.
- Several studies show that women living in close proximity to heavily trafficked freeways with elevated pollution levels are more likely to give birth to low-birth-weight or premature infants.
- Children living in the most polluted communities in Southern California suffer reduced lung function and reduced lung growth, increased school absences, asthma exacerbations, and new-onset asthma.
- A child born in the California South Coast area potentially exceeds a lifetime acceptable cancer risk after only 12 days of exposure to air pollution in that region. Children in the San Francisco Bay area, Sacramento Valley, San Diego, and San Joaquin Valley exceed a lifetime acceptable risk in between 19 and 23 days.
- Every year, 19,000 premature deaths can be attributed to California’s air pollution.
- Recent research conducted by the RAND Corporation found that hospital care related to elevated pollution levels in California cost nearly $200 million from 2005 to 2007. We owe it to our children and future generations to provide clean, healthy air.
Reduce CO2 Pollution and Help Mitigate the Worst Effects of Climate Change
Passenger cars and light trucks represent 40% of California’s greenhouse gas pollution.
Jobs and Investment
California can reduce greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change and expand jobs and economic prosperity at the same time. California has led the nation in cleantech investment.
Cleaner, more efficient cars and light trucks will save California drivers billions in gasoline costs every year. Stringent clean car standards will ensure that consumers have many options for driving greener cars and light trucks—including super-efficient cars that go 50 miles or more to the gallon, hybrids that use even less gasoline, plug-in hybrids that switch between gasoline and electricity, and all-electric cars that use no gasoline at all. Fueling a car with electricity costs a fraction of filling a tank with gasoline.
Recent history confirms this fact. Since late 2006, California has led the nation in cleantech investment; California-based cleantech companies have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars in venture financing, dramatically more than any other state.
New data shows that employment in California’s green economy grew 36% from 1995 to 2008 while total jobs in California expanded only 13%. As the economy slowed between 2007 and 2008, total employment fell 1%, but green jobs continued to grow 5%. Many of the companies that are building clean, green cars of the future, such as Tesla Motors, are based in California; their suppliers of high-tech components, such as Quantum Technologies and Better Place, are also based here. These companies hold the promise of providing important jobs for working families across the state.
Four Different Standards Make Up The Clean Cars Program
- Vehicle Global Warming Standards (LEV III-GHG): This program will make sure new cars and light trucks produce fewer emissions that contribute to global warming. (The updated rules will apply to vehicles starting in 2017.)
- Low Emission Vehicle Program (LEV III-Criteria Pollutant): This program will make sure new cars and light trucks produce fewer harmful emissions that contribute to smog and hurt public health. (The updated rules will apply to vehicles starting in 2014.)
- Zero Emission Vehicle Program (ZEV): This program will make sure that the newest, gasoline-free, ultraclean vehicle technologies – such as electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars – are brought to California. (The updated rules will apply to vehicles starting in 2015.)
- Clean Fuels Outlet: This program will make sure we have the infrastructure in place to support clean, alternative fuel cars.
- The California Energy Commission: http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/petroleum/index.html.
- CIMB World Market: http://research.cibcwm.com/economic_public/download/soct08.pdf
- California Energy Commission: http://www.energy.ca.gov/reports/100-03-019F.PDF.
- Wilhelm M, Ritz B. Residential Proximity to Traffic and Adverse Birth Outcomes in Los Angeles County, California, 1994–1996.
- Environmental Health Perspectives. February 2003; 111 (2 ).
- Kuenzli N et al. Breathless in Los Angeles: the exhausting search for clean air. Am J of Public Health. September 2003; 93(9): 1494-1499.
- National Environmental Trust. Toxic Beginnings: A lifetime of chemical exposure in the first year. Washington, DC. 2001.
- California Air Resources Board: http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/health/qhe/qhe.htm.
- Climate Change FAQ: http://climatechange.ca.gov/publications/faqs.html.