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Tailpipe exhaust emissions in California are on the rise despite the state’s reputation as a leader in climate change initiatives, ranging from cleaner fuels and carpooling, to the highest EV adoption rate in the country.
Reuters reports that despite these environmental tactics, which have cost billions of dollars, the state is struggling with constantly rising tailpipe emissions.
“The strategies that we’ve used up until now just haven’t been effective,” says the head of the state’s Air Resources Board, Mary Nichols.
The reason for this lack of effectiveness has to do with urban planning more than anything else, it appears. California is the state of long commutes necessitated by urban planning decisions that focused on sprawling single-family houses. This encourages the purchase of more cars than is conducive to tailpipe emissions reduction even with all the EVs taken into account: California buys more than 50 percent of all EVs sold in the country.
As a result, harmful emissions from transportation—the number-one source of emissions along with power generation—account for 40 percent of California’s total emissions, according to figures from the Environmental Protection Agency. This compares with an average of 28 percent for the United States as a whole.
California is also home to eight of the ten most polluted cities in the United States, a report from April last year found. What’s more, the state has been at the top of the list of most polluted cities for 19 years in a row, ever since the American Lung Association’s State of the Air report began being released.
The authorities of California are not giving up, however. The latest here is an initiative from last December, when the California Public Utilities Commission approved a pilot program that will see the replacement of propane and wood-burning appliances with energy-efficient electric substitutes at no cost for their owners. The initiative, which will cost US$50 million and will run for five years, will target 1,800 low-income households in the San Joaquin Valley, which was two years ago ranked the most polluted area in the United States by the World Health Organization.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.