Local industry steps up to he
generally accepted that the dirtiest ten percent of cars on the road are responsible for up to 70 percent of vehicle-generated emissions. Since regulators are already aggressively controlling most sources of air pollution, emissions from unregistered cars represent a significant source of potential future emissions reductions. There currently are no state or federal programs to target these unregistered cars.
Based on existing data, it appears that the likelihood of a car failing a smog test is greater among middle- to low-income than higher-income motorists. Since the smog repairs needed to pass inspection can average $500, this can represent a major barrier to registering a car. Valley CAN concluded that the best target audience to effect the maximum air quality improvements is low-income motorists in “environmental justice” communities, since according to data these areas have the highest rates of unregistered drivers and they are presumably more likely to be drawn to the program by incentives to repair their car. Arvin High School student performs a diagnostic test for an event participant. Valley Clean Air Now (Valley CAN), a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving air quality in the San Joaquin Valley, has established a successful multi-event program to reduce vehicle emissions in low-income communities called Tune In and Tune Up. High-emitting gasoline-powered vehicles that do not meet state smog standards produce more than half of all the pollution coming from light-duty vehicles, and a significant portion of that pollution comes from unregistered vehicles. California’s Smog Check II program ensures that most cars are tested regularly for smog compliance, but if a motorist falls out of registration they are unlikely to ever again have a smog test or smog repairs done on that vehicle. These unregistered vehicles tend to be older cars that emit very high levels of pollution if they aren’t maintained properly. California’s San Joaquin Valley faces multiple challenges, but perhaps none is greater than its air quality, which regularly is ranked as among the most polluted in the United States and does not currently meet health-based standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for ozone and particulate matter. Tune In & Tune Up incorporates a car- care clinic and health and safety fair to educate residents that much of the Valley’s vehicle-related air pollution comes from older, out-of-tune cars. Tune In & Tune Up events are held between spring and fall, “smog season” in the In a 2006 Public Policy Institute of California survey, San Joaquin Valley residents cited air pollution as their No records are kept on the number of unregistered cars in the Valley or the amount of pollution they emit, but it is number one concern, reporting that nearly half or 49% of residents suffered from asthma or other respiratory ailments, up from 37% in 2003. 2005-2007 Tune In and Tune Up Vehicle Failure Rate
Fr e s
Bak Visa Stoc Mer Arvi
Vehicles Tested Coupons Distributed
500 260 350 275 341 380 170 300 202 280
Much work is underway to reduce air emissions and improve air quality in the Valley, but the challenge is daunting due to both geography and the scope of the problem. It is unlikely that government regulation alone will solve the problem. What is needed is broad-based social change that moves residents toward willingly incorporating clean-air practices into their daily lives.
Vehicles Tested Coupons Distributed
“The dirtiest 10% of cars on the road are responsible for up to 70% of vehicle-generated emissions.”