Tuesday, May 06, 2008

AZ OKs cleaner car program to reduce pollution

Biodiesel power is one 'clean car' solution

TUCSON -- When not on my bike or walking, I love our clean car, an efficient yet powerful VW TDI that runs on B100 biodiesel.

So I'm glad to pass along good news that today in Phoenix the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council approved adoption of a final rule to implement a California Low Emission Vehicle “Clean Car” program in Arizona by a vote of 5 to 2. This makes Arizona the fourteenth state in the country to adopt this standard.

At least 13 other states have adopted Clean Car Standards, including Arizona’s neighbors, California and New Mexico. Under the Clean Car Rule, each automobile manufacturer is required to demonstrate that its fleet of passenger cars and light-duty trucks delivered for sale in Arizona on or after January 1, 2011, meets an average emissions standard for greenhouse gases. It will reduce global warming greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles by about 32 million metric tons from 2012 to 2020 and will also reduce pollutants that contribute to ground-level ozone formation, a major issue in Arizona. Implementation of the rule is expected to reduce 5,505 tons of carbon monoxide, 892 tons of hydrocarbons, and 1,436 tons of oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) in 2018.

“Most of Arizona’s pollution comes from cars and trucks, and about 39 percent of Arizona’s greenhouse gas emissions also come from vehicles,” said Sandy Bahr, conservation outreach director of the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter. “With our rapid growth and an increase in miles traveled that outpaces that growth, our emissions could grow by as much as 200 percent from 1990 to 2020. That is totally unacceptable. This Clean Car Rule will help us reduce emissions, clean up the air and help do our part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Phoenix area has a serious ozone problem that is at its worst during the hot summer months. Ozone is formed when sunlight reacts with volatile organic compounds emitted from vehicles, industry, and other sources. Transportation is the number one contributor to ozone pollution. Because of the weather patterns, areas in the northeast valley such as Fountain Hills suffer most from this pollution. In 2005, there were 30 exceedances of the federal health standard for ozone. Pima County, Yuma and other parts of the state also have growing air pollution risks. Arizona recently received another failing grade from the American Lung Association of Arizona for ozone pollution.

This Clean Car Rule will not be onerous nor decimate the automobile industry as some manufacturers have indicated, and it will not mean that everyone must buy a hybrid vehicle. The technology – outside of hybrid technology – already exists for cars and trucks to meet these standards. Other measures that can help vehicles meet the standards include direct injection, advanced valve control, downsized engines with turbo, electric accessories, integrated starter generators, and automatic manual transmissions, among others.

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