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Benefits and costs - Essay Example

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Pollution caused by vehicles contributes to exhaust emissions, which are “major contributors to air pollution” (Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy [OEERE] 1). Under the the Clean Air Act (CAA) of 1970, air quality must be preserved. Current policies are…
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Benefits and costs
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Benefits and costs

Download file to see previous pages... Vehicles create exhaust gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), hydrocarbons (HC), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter (OEERE 1). These pollutants create air pollution, adversely affecting health of the general population (OEERE 1). Market failure is inevitable as these negative externalities cause cardiopulmonary diseases leading to premature deaths, decreased visibility and other dangerous side effects.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) used command and control policies (Peltz & Fitzgerald 2). Lead was removed from fuel, oxygenates were added and sulfur content was reduced (OEERE 2). Catalytic converters were placed on US passenger cars, SUVs and light trucks to reduce CO, NOx, HC, and VOC emissions. VOC emission capturing and emissions testing of cars were introduced too (OEERE 2). Many decided to commute and so decreased emissions levels.
However, improvements also led to reckless behavior. Pollution caused by vehicles in the USA has become a global problem. While Americans represent only five percent of world population, they use one third of world’s cars (Borger). American cars are 15 percent less fuel efficient than passenger cars driven elsewhere. Moreover, Americans on average drive longer distances than Europeans or Asians. Since 1988, carbon dioxide emissions have been increasing (Borger). CAA has not produced positive results with regard to carbon dioxide emissions. The resulting pollution has increased incidence of cardiopulmonary conditions such as asthma and heart disease (OEERE 2).
In 1990, under the CAA Amendments (CAAA), vehicle standards were made stricter (EPAa). Under the amendments, ozone pollution, carbon monoxide and particulate matter emissions were addressed. Procedures such as inspection/maintenance programs and vapor recovery installations at gas stations were introduced (EPAb). A permit system will be developed ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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