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Fuel-efficient vehicles could save $7.2 billion annually in California health costs

LAskylinesmogCalifornia could save $7.2 billion in healthcare costs -- and prevent more than 400 premature deaths -- annually if the state adopts a 64 miles- per-gallon equivalent fuel economy standard, according to a report released Tuesday by the American Lung Assn. in California.

The Road to Clean Air study estimates a 70% reduction in asthma attacks, respiratory emergency room visits and lost work and school days if the current fleet of vehicles on California roads is replaced with zero- and near-zero-emission vehicles, such as battery electrics, plug-in electrics and fuel-cell vehicles by 2025.

The study is released as consumers wrestle with escalating gas prices, the federal government debates healthcare and California's Air Resources Board and the Obama administration consider advanced clean-car standards to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Draft regulations of the standards for 2017-2025 year models are under negotiation between California and federal officials and are scheduled to be formally proposed in September.

However, automobile companies are lobbying against a preliminary proposal by the Obama administration to toughen fuel efficiency standards from 35.5 mpg in 2016 to 47 mpg to 62 mpg by 2025, saying it would cost too much to implement.

Almost half of California air pollution comes from cars and trucks, and 90% of Californians live in areas with unhealthful air, according to California air officials.

The Road to Clean Air healthcare costs were calculated by comparing cars that meet today's fuel economy standards to a future vehicle mix incorporating higher fuel economy technologies. The study converted the reduction in tons of air pollution and carbon emissions to avoided health outcomes and costs using an Environmental Protection Agency methodology, said ALA spokeswoman Bonnie Holmes-Gen.


Auto pollution: Appeals court upholds California carbon curbs

Freeway air pollution linked to brain damage in mice

L.A., Bakersfield remain among U.S.'s most polluted cities

 -- Susan Carpenter

Photo: Los Angeles skyline. Credit: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

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A goal means "desired event".

So set the goal with penalties for not reaching the goal. If companies
want to sell their cars, they dam well should start producing cars that
at least attempt meeting the goal.

For 50 years, it has been one excuse or another foisted off on the US population.

I remember when car companies stated "Seat Belts are too expensive" or the
"gas tank doesn't need to be protected (CORVAIR)"

I am 65 and have seen the auto industry dragging their feet for years and years.

In 1963, gas could occasionally be bought for $0.15/gal.

A companies objective is to make profit. When they make profit year after
year and we give them tax breaks and subsidies, the population is getting
ripped off.

GAS goes up and everything that is moved around the country goes up. This
includes "GAS", Milk, cereal, everything.

Change the law regarding the percentage commodity traders have to put up
to control a futures option.

Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and Tea Party people, get educated. Out
country is getting used and abused by the people that have money at the expense of people that do not have money.

Google, Torrent, the documentary, 'Who Stole The Electric Car". Study it! Did corporate interests over-power, American peon's interests? Is this a living illustration of corporate power over the better interests of the nation? Where did the American designed, fully adequate for the job, not needing expensive lithium imports, totally recyclable, proven in the Toyota RAV 4 EL for many many successful recharges - no hitches! Used in the EV-1, proven viable, useful in the EV-1! Did America get horn-swoggled? Tricked, Taken advantage of? By her own corporate interests? What other "proprietary" secrets were hammer-milled here, by corporate interests? Do you think any other SMART ideas stand a chance against these corporate monsters, gangsters, control freaks?
America falls rapidly behind the rest of the world! Even faulty Fuckoshema styled GE MK-5 uranium fed reactors of 1950's design are defended, all the while Communist China develops Thorium fueled, safer, plutonium free, easy to decommission, benign waste product reactors!
Solar, Wave, Wind, Hydro, Tidal, Geothermal, all domestically available electricity resources, all rejected one way or another, in America! Gasoline prices on the rise! Asians pressure prices ever-upwards! Americans hiding their heads in the sand! Thorium fueled reactors need investigation! America needs cheap source of energy, just to stay afloat! China has extensive nuclear technology already! Google, Tsinghua University, China, pebble bed gas reactors! See for yourself! America in peril! Time for X-Lax!

This report is outstanding. Out of control air pollution has negative economic and health impacts. LA used to have even worse air pollution through the 1940's, 50's, 60's and 70's until government regulators were held accountable, local industry cleaned up and Detroit was forced to make cleaner cars. You can thank environmental activists for the cleaner air that you breath and the cleaner water that you drink. You're welcome. But CA will back slide if we aren't vigilent. More efficient cars and trucks will also mean greater energy independence which is obviously a good foreign policy.

Over 70% of retail merchandise is moved via the trucking industry in the U.S. Even with rail and water-borne transport, there are still truck routes between these depots and the final product destinations. Truck MPG is a joke. Why not focus on improving from 4 MPG to 24 MPG in the trucking business, which would be a 500% improvement? A 20 MPG boost for automobiles is usually no more than 100% improvement, often less. This trucking-fuel reduction is bound to pay dividends in terms of lower shipping costs, and also reduced susceptibility to inflationary fuel spikes.

Comparing fuel needs in Europe to the U.S. is bogus. In Europe, distances between cities and communities are much smaller than in the U.S. Compare the amount of population density between Washington, DC, and NYC, to the pop density between Nashville, TN, and Memphis, TN. Both are distances of 200 miles via ground travel. European pop density allows for more rail and small cars, similar to the Washington/NYC route. Most U.S. states have pop density and community spacing that is far wider, meaning necessarily higher number of miles travelled for the same type of vehicle use.

This analysis is bogus. The net amount of energy required to move the vehicle, even if it decreases, is not the total amount of energy in the fueling process. To generate the needed electricity, fossil fuels will be required, since the amount of wind/solar energy available at night (for recharging periods) is very low, and wind is not predictable. (Of course, there's always nukes!) In addition, the generation, transmission, and storage of electricity is far less efficient, in terms of final power supplied to vehicle versus original power generated, than directly burning the processed fossil fuels in the cars. Sorry, this dog won't hunt.

Dave - "Where's the money from Iraq?" In Bush/Chenney's pockets

fuel -efficient have been in europe long before American drivers ever thought of driving them or buying one.When american drivers get over the fact that they need monster pick-ups or suv's,then we'll see 62 mpg cars as average stats for the road.The rest of the world is on board for solving the energy problem, just look at some of the cars that are being sold in China,India and Europe.Some day America and the Big Oil Companies will realize that $5 gas is the end of big business.

almost there already - both affordable and efficient - a 2016 goal seems reachable and cost effective. Consider that the 2011 Chevrolet Cruz costs 16.5 K and gets 36 mpg highway and has 10 airbags. Even better is the Chevrolet Cruz Eco rated at 28 MPG city/42 highway but purported to actually get 50 mpg and costs 19K. And the Tata Nano meets Euro safety standards gets like 66 mpg and expected to cost around $7K. Just think when the electric battery design is improved and we will all drive small electric family cars ... like the Nano.

80 MPG diesels exist today in Europe for consumers. Americans can't buy them because they don't meet California's requirements but do meet stringent European requirements.

The Ford Focus get 75 MPG in Europe. It's gas powered

The green front is blind. Pragmatic, workable solutions exist today. They don't want them, they want to dictate solutions based on dogma.

Pipe dream. No one could afford the vehicles.

Jim, you are so hilariously short on facts in your comment.

Only top heavy vehicles like some Jeep models are prone to roll over in accidents.
Cars are safer from years ago because of new technology like crumple zones and air bags.
If we invaded Iraq for oil, then where is the oil? Why was it still so expensive even before everything went down in the middle east earlier this year?
It cost me less to fill up my car with 15 gallons of mid grade fuel in 2004 than it costs me to fill it 3/4 with low grade today.
If catalytic converters did such a great job to kill smog in the 70s, then why is the city barely visible most days in 2011?

Yeah, this is a great idea on paper, but who are going to buy the expensive fuel-cell vehicles for all the people who can't afford them? Not all Californians are rich.
And for the rest of us, why should we have to chose between the 5 or less vehicle models that get 65 mpg, when there are so many other choices on the market?

As the choices of fuel-efficient vehicles increase and prices decrease, I think more and more people will buy them. Until then, clean air advocates should lobby the car manufacturers to make it happen. People want choices when buying a vehicle and for some that includes low price, either because they can't afford anything else or because they have other things they'd rather spend their money on.

As for me, don't worry. My motorcycle averages 72 mpg.

Can you imagine if we got 62 mpg on average? Would we have still invaded iraq and be dependent on mid east oil? and you get cleaner healthier air? $4.00 gas would be more like $1.50 if you went from 25mpg to 62!
Those are win win wins so get on board and support progress.

Whats funny is that the only thing most haters can say is gas guzzlers that cost your pocket and dirty the air are needed because they are safer. But auto deaths are way down from the days of driving boats on wheels. And big cars are more likely to roll over and bigger vehicles are less responsive and brake slower so they are less likely to avoid an accident in the first place.

the haters will say it can't be done - the said we couldn't fix smog in the 70s but the catalytic converter was very effective in a matter of a few years so let them go to the la brea tar pits and hang out with the dinosaurs

The better alternative to achieve cleaner transportation is to build an efficient subway & light rail network, along with policy to discourage urban sprawl.

those public school buses are one of the worst vehicle type on the road generating so much toxic exhaust. I am surprise the environmental groups have not take the school districts to court yet.

I think the vehicle manufacturers can make that goal, but they'll have to stop pushing their super-sized products so hard. The number of SUVs and oversized pickups I see containing one person (and no visible cargo) is far too high. (I'll also add that they need two parking spaces if they aren't going to stick out three or four feet into traffic, and some of their drivers use *four* spaces for parking.)

It is so silly to frame fuel efficiency in this context.

It is going to cost way more than $7.2 billion, probably more like a trillion $, to achieve a 64 mile/gal equivalent for all cars in CA. Talk about a negative return on investment.

The answer to Tom's post can be found at Fiberforge. Eventually, sooner rather than later hopefully, auto makers will adopt the widespread use of thermoplastic advanced composites for vehicle construction. The result will be much lighter cars requiring much smaller engines. The ability of these composites to absorb energy in conjunction with other on-board safety systems will make them safer than todays cars. Think of a bullet hitting a kevlar vest vs a steel shield of the same thickness.

Enviros... always willing to charge everyone else for their
"solutions" in search of a problem. The enviros' "could" always costs you more.

The study assumes that every single car on the road today be replaced by a zero emission vehicle to include electrics. First off, that's a ridiculous assumption and second, how are we going to generate the electricity for these vehicles?

Most of the local boneheads are extremely proud of their ability to calculate the gas money saved by vehicles and combine that money with the vehicles' overall cost to make comparisons between vehicles. Asking them to consider backend costs such as healthcare is way beyond their ken...

A risk-benefit analyis by individuals and families will have to be made on an individual basis. Basic physics are involved. Smaller and lighter vehicles do not fair well in collisions, causing more death and major injuries. Our society has become somewhat immune to traffic death and injuries, many more than all the murders and assaults nation-wide.

It sounds great on its face, but there are sometimes "unintended consequences" of implementation of any proposal. The risk of death and great bodily injury will occur....that's a fact.

You know what's interesting about all this? It's the government that's causing the most pollution. Ever drive behind any of the LAUSD school buses? They belch out so much black smoke it turns day to night. If they made every mass transit vehicle clean burning it would instantly clean our air up in a noticeable way. Add to that enforcing current laws to crack down on the insane number of smog belching cars and trucks I see drive around every day and the problem would be solved without the added restrictions that this state is so famous for.

Yeah great, but start with the 18 wheelers in and out of the ports and major cities in California


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