AAA supports the Clean Air Act, because it has proven effective in improving air quality.
Although the Clean Air Act targeted air pollution from all sources, an important component was its focus on reducing the significant amount of pollution caused by automobiles.
Since1970, we have reduced emissions from cars, light trucks/SUVs, trucks, motorcycles, aircraft, boats, lawn care equipment and construction equipment. As the charts show, automobile emissions are no longer the primary or even secondary source of summertime ozone smog. That remarkable progress has been made even though the number of vehicle miles traveled has increased substantially.
AAA continues to support these efforts while ensuring fair treatment of motorists. For the past 40 years, we have engaged in the Environmental Protection Agency’s rulemaking process to ensure regulations targeting automobiles actually reduced pollution, and didn’t simply punish people who drive.
From the April 2000 GAO report, Air Pollution: Status of Implementation and Issues of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990:
“According to the EPA, by many measures the quality of the nation’s air has improved in recent years. Specifically, ground-level ozone, particulate matter and carbon monoxide emissions have been reduced … and motor vehicles and fuels are far cleaner than in 1990 as a result of revised emissions standards.”
From the Federal Highway Administration’s January 2002 publication, Transportation Air Quality: Selected Facts and Figures:
“Significant progress has been made in reducing criteria pollutant emissions from motor vehicles and improving air quality since the 1970’s, even as vehicle travel has increased rapidly. The air is noticeably cleaner than in 1970, and total criteria pollutant emissions from motor vehicles are less than they were in 1970 despite a more than doubling of vehicle miles of travel.”
It’s Not Over Yet
Other mobile sources and stationary sources now are the primary sources of harmful ozone, and AAA advocates that those sources should reduce their emissions dramatically to match the progress made by cars. Nevertheless, cars do continue to pollute – and AAA supports fair and cost-effective means of reducing their emissions.
All Americans want cleaner air and a healthy environment. Let’s build on the progress we’ve already made.
No Hidden Agenda
The automobile remains a source of pollution, and continued work to lower emissions is needed. AAA supports the goals of the Clean Air Act, and will continue to do so. But we also take seriously our commitment to ensuring fair treatment for motorists. We will continue to work to ensure regulations targeting automobiles actually reduce pollution, and don’t simply punish people who drive.
As part of our advocacy efforts, AAA participates in a variety of efforts and organizations. We do not always agree with all participants on every issue. However, we do believe there is more to be gained from working cooperatively with groups with differing opinions than by fostering a spirit of divisiveness.
AAA supports funding for programs to identify, designate and financially support the preservation of scenic highways to be enjoyed by the motoring public.
AAA travel publications such as TourBook® guides and maps include information on some 30,000 miles of scenic roads in the United States. In addition, AAA’s North America Road Atlas contains information on the top 60 scenic drives in North America with inset maps of national parks.
AAA believes the reasonable needs of recreation and tourism on such roads, particularly access to and within national parks and forests, should be accommodated and promoted in a manner consistent with the need to protect the natural beauty of the land.
No Hidden Agenda
Why does AAA support the preservation scenic byways? It’s simple, really. Because our members and the public deserve a chance to see America at its finest: its beauty, its history, its culture.
When AAA was formed, there were 17 million horses and only 23,000 cars in the United States. Most people never traveled more than 20 miles away from home in their lifetime.
With the advent of the automobile, all that changed. While the need was then – and still is today – to improve safety on our roads, our humble beginnings also remind us of the need to protect the natural beauty of our great land, to give future generations the same opportunities we have had to enjoy our national scenic treasures. After all, this land is OUR land.
As part of our advocacy efforts, AAA participates in a variety of efforts and organizations. We do not always agree with all participants on every issue. However, we do believe there is more to be gained from working cooperatively with groups with differing opinions than by fostering divisiveness.