Release 93-10

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                   CONTACT:      Jerry Martin
May 26, 1993                                                                                                      (916) 322-2990

Air Resources Board to Test Junked, High Polluting Cars

        SACRAMENTO - The State Air Resources Board (ARB) today said that it would conduct the most intensive testing ever done on junked, high-polluting cars to get information about how much they add to the state's air pollution problem.

        The ARB will collect sample cars from the next phase of Unocal's SCRAP program -- which will buy high-polluting cars and retire them from the road to obtain air pollution credit -- beginning in mid-June.

        The next phase of Unocal's buy-back program is expected to purchase up to 500 cars, all of them built between 1971-79. The ARB will use dynamometers to drive as many as 60 of them through a full, simulated driving cycle -- the same type of test is used to certify new cars -- to gather more information about how these so-called "gross emitters" pollute in real world driving situations.

        "These gross emitters are a small percentage of all the cars on the road, but they contribute more than their fair share to the state's air pollution problems," said Jananne Sharpless, chairwoman of the Air Resources Board. "This will be the most complete and accurate testing that these cars have ever gone through and the information will be valuable as more companies like Unocal look to car buy-back programs to obtain pollution credits and find more flexible ways to comply with the state's air quality rules."

        Joining Unocal in announcing the start of the second phase of their buy-back program, Sharpless underscored the need to continue the state's standard setting that produces the world's cleanest cars and lowest polluting fuels for California. She also emphasized, however, that programs designed to buy high polluting cars can play an important role in the state's anti-smog effort.

        "Car crushing programs, by themselves, will not crush the smog problem," she said. "But they will help us put a dent in it by speeding up the retirement of high polluting cars that will be replaced by cleaner-running models."

        Sharpless noted that even though the ARB requires the world's cleanest cars, vehicles continue to be responsible for up to 50 percents of the state's urban smog problems, largely because of the large number of them. The number of cars is growing faster than the population and the number of miles they are driven is increasing even faster, she noted.

        In addition, it takes up to 15 years to see the full environmental benefit of any new emission standards, because of the lag time between adoption of the standards and production of the vehicle, as well as the 10 years or more it takes for new cars to fully replace older models on the road.

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