Cleaner Cars: Coming to a State Near You?

Jan. 28, 2007: The Baltimore Sun—’Clean Car’ Law Gathers Steam

Summary: "El Nuevo San Juan Health Center sits in a bathtub of vehicle exhaust, its South Bronx neighborhood boxed in by expressways and choked with traffic.

Despite all the tailpipes, asthma hospitalization rates among children here have fallen by two-thirds over the past decade. Dr. Samuel De Leon, the clinic’s medical director, says one reason is the drop in ozone air pollution since New York adopted California’s tough vehicle emission standards."

New York car dealers have discovered that their worst fear—customers buying in states lacking the stricter tailpipe rules—never materialized. Yet automakers continue to lobby against tighter standards.

This article looks at the issue from Maryland’s point of view, as its legislature considers California standards for the second time. New York’s experience with dramatic reduction in hospitalization for severe asthma attacks—from 22 to 7 per 1000 children—and fewer lung-damaging ozone non-attainment days prompted one doctor to urge adoption of the standards nationwide. It’s more cost effective for society as a whole, he says. And if forced to choose, "I’d rather be breathing than driving."

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