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Air Quality

Cal State Fullerton Connects Between Deadly Pollution and Car Culture

12:41 PM PST on November 17, 2008

It's certainly not a surprise that cars cause pollution.  But, as our elected leaders in Washington debate a $25 billion bailout of the American oil industry, it's worth revisiting the cost of car culture locally.

Researchers at Cal State Fullerton estimate that the cost of air pollution in California, pollution primarily caused by cars, trucks and other heavy machines, cost Californians $28 billion ever year.  Much of this astronomic value comes from lost work time, hospital vists and even the 3,000 deaths that are caused because of health complications that exist because of unclean air.

The Times reports that the Cal-State Fullerton study has broader implications than upcoming ballot votes by Congress:

The California Air Resources Board is scheduled to vote Dec. 11 onwhether to adopt broader rules that would force more than 1 millionheavy-duty diesel truckers to install filters or upgrade their engines.Truckers and agribusiness have argued against stricter regulation,saying it is too expensive for them to invest in clean vehicles at atime of economic uncertainty.

No matter how you look at it, there is a high cost to continuing our dependence on the automobile.  If Congress really feels the need to invest in infrastructure, perhaps they can think of ways to do so that are less costly to all of us that have to breathe the unpure air that $25 billion buys us.

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