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The following AAA press release accompanied its 1999 report "Clearing the Air". AAA has accused Better World of "lying" or "a lack of integrity" when we described the thrust of AAA's report: that public policy should lay off the automobile when it comes to air pollution. Well, here's the press release and you can decide who has a "lack of integrity".

Read comments by the environmental community
(Including Daniel Becker, Director of Sierra Club's Global Warming/Energy Program)


WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 29, 1999 – Despite the growing number of vehicles and miles traveled, cars and light trucks cause less than 24 percent of the emissions that lead to ground-level ozone problems in 25 major cities, according to a AAA study based on data submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The light-truck category includes sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and minivans.

"Clearing the Air – 1999," the third such analysis of EPA data done by AAA, reveals that in cities such as Atlanta, Philadelphia and Washington, DC, 65 percent to 80 percent of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) comes from stationary sources such as power plants and refineries, and mobile sources other than cars and light trucks.

This is true as well for Baltimore, Charlotte, St. Louis and Phoenix, where auto and light truck emissions have declined by about 65 percent since 1970, despite a more than 100 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled.

The reason? The production of cleaner cars, stimulated by the tightening of federal tailpipe emissions standards, cleaner gasoline and more effective state inspections.

"Overall air quality in our cities is improving," said Susan G Pikrallidas, interim vice president of Public and Government Relations for AAA, "and it’s due in large part to the automobile. 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."

Because automobiles and light trucks continue to receive disproportionate attention as contributors to urban ozone, AAA said, it is important that their contributions be understood, as well as their progress toward reducing emissions.

"Through these studies, AAA sends a clear message to governments – federal, state and local – that they need to go beyond simply targeting passenger vehicles if they hope to make any real progress in further cutting the smog in our cities," said Pikrallidas.

The 1999 study and its predecessors were conducted by Energy & Environmental Analysis, Inc., of Arlington, Virginia.

AAA is a not-for-profit federation of 90 clubs with 1,100 offices providing more than 42 million members in the United States and Canada with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services.


"A lot of people belong to AAA because they think it's a nice place to get Triptiks® and traveler's checks. What they don't know is that AAA is a lobbyist for more roads, more pollution, and more gas guzzling."

-Daniel Becker, Director
Sierra Club's Global Warming/Energy Program

"My research has led me to conclude that it [AAA] has fought virtually every proposal that would lead to cleaner air and a healthier environment...I'm sure that would come as a surprise to its millions of members."

-Michael A. Rivlin, Independent Journalist
onEarth Magazine

Click here to see AAA's press release

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