Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Brian asks: I heard you mention this on Bill Meyer’s radio show recently, but I don’t recall your comment on this: How much do current gasoline powered cars pollute compared to cars of yesteryear?
Also: When I got my drivers license, gas cost about 27 to 30 cents a gallon. There was such a thing as Gas Wars. If you check online, the inflation factor since the late ’60s is about nine times, so I’m trying to understand why everybody gets so worked up about the cost of gas.
My reply: In terms of the genuinely harmful to humans stuff – as opposed to the harmless stuff – the emissions of the typical new car are almost nil. The output of the compounds which lead to smog and which cause respiratory issues in humans have been decreased by more than 95 percent and many new cars are 97-plus percent “clean” at the tailpipe in terms of these things (i.e., unburned hydrocarbons).
But the public has been deliberately lied to about this fact. First, by deliberately dishonest presentation of the reduction in exhaust emissions to date – then by deliberately dishonest prattle about future reductions. You will hear talk about “EPA urges emissions to be cut by 50 percent” or some such. Which sounds like a lot. But what they mean is 50 percent of half a percent (of the remaining 3-5 percent). It’s despicable.
Even more despicable is the recent confabulation of carbon dioxide with “emissions.” Carbon dioxide was never considered an “emission” until a few years ago, when it suddenly became one – because C02 isn’t one. At least, not in terms of things harmful to human health, such as smog.
It is characterized (lately) as an “emission” in terms of “climate change” – but this is political science, not science.
On gas prices: Yes, you’re right. Gas today is actually cheaper in real terms than it was 50 years ago – in spite of all the cost-adding/taxes that’s been piled on. But people have short memories – and only see the price today. Which, for the record, would be about $1.50 or less if taxes were taken out and under $1 if regulatory costs were taken out.
Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
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