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California Air Quality Has Improved Significantly: NOAA Study

L.A. freeway

California’s population may have tripled over the last 50 years, but thanks to strict emissions standards the state has seen a significant decline in smog and dangerous pollutants in the air.

According to a study led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, the amount of organic nitrates in Southern California’s air has fallen significantly since the 1960s, despite the growth in population and number of cars on the road. California residents are required to get their vehicles smog tested every year, with an exception for hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles, motorcycles, trailers, certain classic cars, diesel-fueled vehicles, and natural gas-powered vehicles. Hybrid and electric vehicle owners are also allowed to use the carpool lane whether there are passengers or not. That’s quite an incentive for commuters dealing with heavy LA traffic.

Despite the fact that vehicle emissions are the largest offenders when it comes to the dangerous smog looming over California, Los Angeles is still acting diligently in terms of reducing all emissions in general. In March, mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced a plan to phase out all coal-fired power by 2025.

Studies like this are always encouraging, especially since clean energy and regulations are relatively “new”, and there aren’t a ton of numbers out there yet to show the naysayers that it’s working. Even if the United States can’t come together and make some serious clean energy decisions, at least the cities and states can start doing it themselves.

Image CC licensed by Prayitno: L.A. Freeway

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