cars not to blame for major U.S. air pollution
USA Today: September 30, 1999
WASHINGTON - Cars and light
trucks are no longer the major source for smog and ozone
pollution in most major US cities, according to a report
released by the American Automobile Association (AAA) yesterday.
The study says cars and light
trucks, which include sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and
minivans, account for less than 24 percent of the emissions
that lead to ground-level ozone problems in 25 major cities,
excluding New York and Los Angeles.
"This study confirms that smog produced by automobiles
continues to decline and does not contribute inordinately
to ozone problems in our cities when compared to the contribution
of other sources," said Susan Pikrallidas, interim
vice president of public and government relations for AAA.
New York and Los Angeles were excluded from the study because
their AAA clubs declined to participate.
Using data submitted to the US Environmental Protection
Agency, the study reports a reduction in automobile emissions
of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and oxides of nitrogen
(NOx) which contribute to the depleting ozone.
Because of EPA's more stringent emission standards for newer
vehicles, AAA says there has been an 82 percent reduction
in auto VOC since 1970 and a 38 percent reduction in auto
The study blames stationary sources, such as power plants
and refineries, as the major contributors to air pollution
AAA representatives called on local, state and federal governments
to stop targeting passenger vehicles and start looking at
other industries to decrease ozone-related emissions.
"Its time to turn the spotlight on other pollution
sources if we really want to continue to improve air quality,"
Pikrallidas said. "Targeting cars won't get you much
more for the money."
Environmental groups dismissed the AAA study.
"It sounds like AAA has been breathing too much smog,"
said Daniel Becker, Sierra Club's director of global warming
"With asthmatic children being hospitalized at an ever-increasing
rate, it is foolhardy and callous for AAA to imply that
now is the time to let up on auto pollution," he said.
Story by Randy Fabi
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