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Fifty years ago, the government decided to clean up car exhaust. It’s still at it.
Even as he sat down to sign the most sweeping environmental protection law in the nation’s history, Richard Nixon couldn’t help taking a swipe at one of his enemies. Notably absent from the signing ceremony for the landmark 1970 Clean Air Act was Edmund Muskie, the Maine Democrat who had steered “that Muskie bill” through the Senate and who was expected to run for president against Nixon in 1972. Muskie said he hadn’t been told the bill would be signed that day.
Though the political intrigues were soon forgotten, the revisions to Title 42, Chapter 85 of the United States Code are still making an impact 50 years later. The law Nixon signed on December 31, 1970, forever changed the vehicles that Americans bought and drove, and it continues to do so today. It gave the newly created Environmental Protection Agency the regulatory bludgeon it needed to make cleaner air actually happen. And where it came to automobiles, the EPA effectively handed that bludgeon to a small group of engineers and regulators in the smoggy suburbs of Los Angeles. If you own any car built and certified for sale in the United States after 1975, it has their fingerprints all over it. “I was kind of astonished at the power that I had,” recalls Steve Albu, who spent 31 years helping set emissions standards for the California Air Resources Board (CARB), a state regulatory body that ended up having an enormous role in setting the course of the nation’s auto emissions laws. “I didn’t really understand what I was getting into.”
Initially I saw docs advertising them in print (not sure if I remember on TV, if it wuz it hadda be a B&W tv !). Now they're against.
Kids ripped off anything they didn't understand "Get rid of that smog stuff, it kills the performance." (when it added to the very same - MPGs and pep). Yes, we have come along way baby (Virg Slims advert) and I hope the EV changes come, improve. I've said it here before - if the full info was contemplated (social. financial, health, environmental, etc, etc) I don't think the automotive industry would have been developed !