Re: cars

Pat Fallon (
Sat, 15 Nov 1997 11:35:22 -0500

Someone said:
>> cars are polluting the environment but I wouldn't like
>> to do without the freedom my car is delivering !

As I understand it, a majority of the pollution (carbon monoxide,
anyway) comes from a small minority of gross-polluting cars. The
dirtiest 10% of cars emit 50% of the carbon monoxide, while the cleanest
50% of autos emit only 5%.

And, apparently, maintenance is more important than age when it comes to
emission levels. About two-thirds of cars that fail exhaust tests have
emission-control systems out of conformance with the law, and a majority
of those had been deliberately tampered with. If tampering is widespread
and causes high emissions, then a scheduled emissions inspection every
year is a waste of time and money.

It would be like fighting drunk driving by having annual breathalyzer
tests-it won't be effective. Only random, spot testing will uncover
these polluters.

Technology can be used to target gross polluters. The technology is
cheap and portable, thus capable of random surveillance while
inconveniencing only those guilty. The Sun Company of Philadelphia used
a remote-sensing device to spot pollution from passing vehicles. By
beaming a ray of light across a city road, Sun was able to spot more
than 3,400 vehicles out of 75,000 screened that were spewing fumes in
excess of federal limits. Get those 5% of vehicles fixed and air quality
will be much improved. We could target the guilty without
inconveniencing the innocent.

Random roadside vehicle testing, instead of requiring every motorist to
spend time and money visiting another inspection station, seems like it
might be practical and effective.

Neuronaut <> said:
> The freedom one might experience from owning a car is
> illusory what with the congestion, expense and worry that
> comes with owning such an expensive item.

I think this is a personal decision. Road owners (and adjacent property
owners) should, however, be able to target gross polluters and hold them
responsible for trespass, nuisance, etc.

Also, our government should not subsidize the price of gasoline be
defending perceived oil interests in dangerous areas of the world. If a
company decides to do business with a prince or dictator halfway around
the globe let them pay for the security and transportation safety, and
take the hit if it's nationalized, etc. Also, the roads should be
privatized. Then perhaps alternative financing will eliminate the gas
taxes that also distort the price. The price of natural resources
should reflect their true cost, and scarcity. Then our decision of
whether to own a car or not might be a more rational judgment, all
things considered.

Pat Fallon