Cal State Fullerton Connects Between Deadly Pollution and Car Culture

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 on
whether to adopt broader rules that would force more than 1 million
heavy-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 a
time 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.


Homeowners Rail Against 405 Expansion

A bi-partisan collection of officials celebrate the destruction of air quality around Encino The Daily News printed a rare opinion piece yesterday that dared challenge the orthodoxy that adding lane capacity to the 405 is somehow going to improve quality of life for the people living near the widening area in Encino.  The I-405 widening […]

Forbes: CA the 14th Greenest State

This week’s edition of Forbes magazine featured a profile of the "greenness" of all 50 states, ranking them from the most enviro-friendly to the least. Forbes seems surprised that California wasn’t ranked closer to the top given the state’s well-chronicled environmental policies. Here’s what Forbes had to say about the Golden State: CaliforniaNo. 14 Score: […]

This Is Your Brain on Cars—Oh, and Your Lungs and Heart and Gut, Too

Gerontologists in a laboratory at the University of Southern California exposed a group of mice to the same atmospheric conditions that humans encounter when driving along the freeway. Horrifyingly, they discovered that the mice’s brains showed the kind of swelling and inflammation associated with diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The researchers didn’t super-dose to get these […]

USC Research: Freeway Pollutants Cause Brain Damage in Mice

In a study that should give pause to anyone proposing a highway expansion project near where people live, A  new study out of the University of Southern California should give them pause.  Research by University Professor and senior author Caleb Finch and Constantinos Sioutas of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering demonstrates a direct correlation […]

EPA Air Chief: We Need to Do More to Reduce VMT

Obama administration officials “need to align together” to work on reducing the nation’s total vehicle miles traveled — work that should go beyond a pending congressional climate bill — the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) air-quality chief said today. Gina McCarthy, EPA’s top air pollution regulator. (Photo: CECE) Gina McCarthy, EPA’s assistant administrator for air and […]

With the Fires Affecting Air Quality, Bike Safely Out There

Photo: Times On Monday, reader M asked for some advice while traveling outside. While some readers stepped up with some good advice, I asked some of our local bike safety experts for their advice. A couple of people took up the challenge, and in particular Shay Sanchez, the co-founder and program director of Cyclists Inciting […]