AB 616: California Smog Bill

March 16th, 2007 by William

smog2.gif

Recently it came to my attention through my extensive “car guy” connections that there is a bill running through the California legislature that might impact the automotive community. A.B. 616 was introduced in the California Assembly by Assemblyman Dave Jones. Part of the proposed bill would require annual smog check inspections for vehicles 15-years old and older. It would also require that funds generated through the additional inspection fees be deposited into an account which can be used to scrap older cars. Cars built before 1976 would still remain exempt from smog checks, and presumably cars newer than 15 years old would only need them every couple of years as is the law today. The bill has been referred to the Assembly Transportation Committee.

Click for full text of the Assembly Bill as it was introduced:
smog1.jpg

I haven’t had time to analyze the wording of this Bill too much; however a politically minded vintage car enthusiast that I know sent an interesting response to one of the email lists I subscribe to. He shall remain nameless to protect his identity but this is what he had to say about AB 616:

Hello.
As a California citizen and auto enthusiast, I am concerned about your
support of AB 616. I think that the current smog laws do not take many environmental
concerns into account and AB 616 is a great example of this. Between 60% and 80% of the pollution an automobile will ever make in its operational lifetime is created in the manufacturing process, according to the Society of Automotive Engineers. It is therefore preferable from an
environmental point of view to keep the old cars on the road rather than manufacturing new ones, as the environmental impact of the older vehicles has already been absorbed by the planet.
If you do a bit of research on the manufacture of the batteries for Toyota hybrids, you will find an area of Canada that looks like the surface of the moon because of the plant that makes the batteries. Moving pollution around so that no one notices is not a good solution to the problem.
Other possible solutions might include: simplifying the process of smog checks to look at tail pipe emissions only, which would take some of the financial burden off of the consumer, reduce the temptation to ‘cheat’, and possibly allow for some innovations that may further reduce pollution; having the state pay for engine rebuilds/swaps and tune ups for cars over a certain age, which would cost about the same as enforcing the current program but would create jobs (and tax revenue from those jobs) and foster a cooperative rather than antagonistic relationship between consumers and the state, and probably be far more effective environmentally; sponsor a bill that creates a really good public transportation system state wide in order to reduce reliance on personal motor vehicles, which would again create jobs
and reduce pollution; propose a law that taxes vehicles based on their fuel consumption in order to encourage fuel efficiency to be a factor on the purchase of new vehicles.

Further, the current laws look as though they were dreamed up by auto manufacturers in order to encourage consumption rather than environmentalism. The entire burden of payment is brought upon the consumers in the form of smog check fees, taxes, fuel additive costs and new vehicle costs. The role of the state is like a thug/enforcer that deems a car undriveable and sends the consumer to the car dealer to get another, assessing taxes the entire way… By supporting new car sales over proper maintenance, we are in effect supporting the destruction of the environment in Mexico and Canada (see NAFTA, just the parts that benefit corporations as that seems to be the only part we are interested in enforcing), the erosion of the American workforce and economy and by extension health care and other social services.

Do something meaningful about the environment. AB 616 is not it. Buying new cars is not it. Enforcing all of NAFTA would be a start. Taking practical steps to work with consumers in order to reduce pollution would be another positive step. More frequent smog checks and crushing more cars makes about as much sense as testing kids in school every year to see if
they meet some imaginary benchmark of performance and then fining the schools if they don’t make the grade…Oh wait, I forgot that we are doing that…

Public service means a lot. I hope that you and your fellow public servants are up to the full implications of that task. We do not need any more band aid solutions to our problems. We as a society need real solutions that look at causality that may not be simple or obvious, and
solve the systemic problems we have instead of the symptoms that are so easy to get on a soap box about. Band aids are for crisis symptoms, real work prevents crisis from occurring.
Thank you for your time.

smog3.jpg

While I don’t agree totally agree with what he says, he makes many valid points. One thing that is a bit deceptive is the pollution statistic. I’m sure that the total pollution from a car manufactured now is less than it was 25 years ago, so the 60-80% from production might also be significantly less (as well as tail pipe pollution). However, I do agree that this is a Band Aid fix, and doesn’t deal with the core of the problem. The car hobbyist lobby has proven powerful in defeating this type of bill in the past; it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Bill Mertz

, , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

About William

I am a twenty something car enthusiast. I spend most of my days working in a small restoration shop in Northern California that specializes in vintage Alfa Romeos. I also manage to do some freelance writing for a handful of automotive publications. When I'm not at the shop I can usually be found working on one of my own project cars, out driving on a good windy road or good jeep trail. Despite what my girlfriend says cars aren't what defines me, they are only what I do. When I have a chance I also love to go camping, play sports or generally do any type of outdoor activity. I don't take myself to seriously, so I hope you don't either.

Automotive Channel Posts

  • First Latina to Run the Indy 500
    Recently I wrote a story about women in motorsports; more specifically it was about attractive women in motorsports. Today, it was announced that one of those women is heading to the Indy 500 for [...]
  • ZAP Reveals Sketches For Its Electric Crossover SUV
    Usually when I read the words "crossover" or "SUV" in a press release there is a good chance that I won't be reading to the end. But something has me excited about ZAP's new electric crossover [...]
  • A Practical Flying Car: Can It Be Done?
    The idea of building a car that can fly is not a new one (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). In fact it has been done many times before. However the out come is usually some bulky inefficient creation [...]
  • Pontiac Solstice GXP: Can Turbo Boost Make the Solstice a Winner?
    This weekend I had the opportunity to drive Pontiac's beefed up Solstice, the GXP. To give a little background, I've previously drove the regular Solstice when it first came out as well as the [...]
  • Barrett Jackson Lawsuit
    I just read a press release regarding anti-defamation suit from the famous classic car auction company Barrett-Jackson. The lawsuit, which was filed on March 15th in a U.S. District Court, was [...]
  • AB 616: California Smog Bill
    Recently it came to my attention through my extensive "car guy" connections that there is a bill running through the California legislature that might impact the automotive community. A.B. 616 [...]
  • Loose Association of Lambretta Owners
    50+ Lambrettas This weekend was the 3rd Annual all Lambretta ride here in the Bay Area. Local Lambretta enthusiast and guru John Quintos created the ride as way for Lambretta owners to get [...]
  • New Deronda Sports Car Coming to the States
    My first thought when seeing the Deronda sports car was that it looked like a mid-engine modern day Lotus Seven. In fact that description really isn't a bad one. The car is a bare bones [...]
  • FoMoCo Announces Aston Martin Sale
    Nearly a year ago Ford announced that it would begin exploring options for its Aston Martin brand. Now, in the midst of a massive restructuring effort, the Ford Motor Company says it has found a [...]
  • New From Geneva: Spyker C12 Zagato
    This year marked the 77th passing of the Geneva International Motor Show. For the last several years Spyker Cars of Holland has used this as a platform to unveil some magnificent vehicles. [...]

Hot Off The Press

  • More fun then a barrel fulla Survivors!
    I was searching far and wide for awesome tidbits to give to you, my faithful little Survivor Addicts, and I found a doosey. No, it's not the name of Rocky and Anthony's love child, or even a list of [...]
  • Summer Feet, Cute Girls!
    Here I am breaking the "No Dingy White Sandals" rule. But the polish! Oh so perfect! Surely that counts for something! The Open Toed Shoe Pledge As a member of the Cute Girl [...]
  • Have Slow Sales Doomed the PS3?
    According to an article on 1Up, the PS3 may not be doomed yet. Luke Smith with 1Up contends that their sales are about the same as Microsoft had last year at this time. The PS3 has outsold the [...]
  • 1PStart Interviews: GamingFM.com's Radd
    I've been a huge fan of GamingFM.com since I first stumbled upon it when I was 18. And now that I have 1PStart, I thought I would take the opportunity to interview the creator of one of my [...]
  • 3 New Studies On Violence & Video Games
    Most of the time, I read about the connection between violence and video games and dismiss it because of the source. I find that logical, because I do not want to hear it from someone who does [...]
  • What's in a Label?
    The food labels based on your average 2000 calorie diet are not working. People are still getting obese, in fact more now than any other time in the history of mankind. When you look at the label, [...]
  • Brad and Angie Donate Again
    Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have donated $100,000 to help build the first modern medical facility in Duk County, Sudan. The Duk Lost Boys Clinic will be run by Sudanese philanthropist John Dau, [...]
  • Exercise #22
    Random word jumble! As always, I give you a list of words or phrases for you to include in a poem, short story, flash, song lyric... Whatever you choose. So here goes! Vanilla beans Corn Tennis [...]
  • The View Ignores Brad!
    Thursday morning, on The View, the women discussed the story in the new People magazine that focuses on Angelina Jolie and her adopted children. Her adopted children. Joy Behar brought the [...]
  • I want one!
    I'm back on my home computer (and in my home kitchen!) after a week on the slopes. I have a couple of things I tried to post from Colorado, but my internet access was hit and (mostly) miss! So [...]