Dirty cars, dirty air

Nearly one half of all Americans—an estimated 150 million—live in areas that don’t meet federal air quality standards. Passenger vehicles and heavy-duty trucks are the main sources of this pollution, which includes ozone, particulate matter, and other smog-forming emissions.

The health risks of air pollution are extremely serious. Poor air quality increases respiratory ailments like asthma and bronchitis, heightens the risk of life-threatening conditions like cancer, and burdens our health care system with substantial medical costs. Particulate matter—the soot and metals that give smog its murky color—is singlehandedly responsible for up to 30,000 premature deaths each year.

Passenger vehicles are a major pollution contributor, producing significant amounts of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and other pollution. And despite only accounting for 7 percent of all vehicles, heavy-duty trucks like semis and school buses produce nearly 25 percent of all smog-forming pollution.

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Solutions are here

Ford Focus assembly line, 2011.

Clean vehicle and fuel technologies provide us with an affordable, available means of reducing transportation-related air pollution. These include fuel-efficient vehicles that use less oil; cleaner fuels that produce fewer emissions; and electric cars and trucks that can entirely remove tailpipe emissions.

Strong federal and state policies also help. Vehicle emission standards have helped cut pollution from cars and trucks by about 90 percent since 1998, with further improvements coming from the Tier 3 standards. And new regulations for heavy-duty trucks could dramatically reduce pollution from the road’s largest vehicles—but more can be done.

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We Need Your Support
to Make Change Happen

We can protect consumers, the climate, and our environment from the growing costs and risks of our oil use —but not without you. Your generous support helps develop science-based solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.