A study in the journal Science found that fine particulate matter, one of the main pollutants produced by gas-burning vehicles, is responsible for 85,000 to 200,000 excess premature deaths per year in the United States. (Aleksandr Kondratov/Adobestock)

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September 29, 2022   

By Suzanne Potter

Local officials concerned about climate change are calling on the Biden Environmental Protection Agency to adopt strict national clean car standards – like the ones the Golden State has already embraced.

The California Air Resources Board recently adopted new rules that will phase out the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035.

Alex Walker-Griffin, the vice mayor of the town of Hercules in the Bay Area, said California’s new rules are intended to cut vehicle pollution 60% by 2030.

“By 2026,” said Walker-Griffin, “car dealerships have to have a plan for the phasing of electric, hydrogen, and hybrid vehicles into their fleets that they sell.”

More than 600 local officials from across the country, part of a group called Elected Officials to Protect America, have signed a letter asking the EPA to start the rulemaking process for stringent clean-car standards.

The agency says the transportation sector accounts for 27% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

Neighborhood Council Member Andrew Lewis from North Westwood, near UCLA, said he suspects the extreme heat and rain that recently pounded Southern California is linked to climate change.

“So to go from, literally on the same day, a heat wave into hurricane impacts,” said Lewis, “which created a Miami-like atmosphere here in Los Angeles, something’s wrong, something’s got to change.”

State Sen. Will Haskell – D-Westport – is a 26-year-old from Connecticut. He also signed the letter.

“I worry about whether my generation is going to have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink,” said Haskell, “or if policymakers are going to stick their head in the sand and watch the point of no return go by.”

The Inflation Reduction Act, which passed this summer, is poised to invest $369 billion into climate action, including $7.5 billion to build a network of charging stations, every 50 miles on interstate highways.


EOPA Letter to President Joe Biden Elected Officials to Protect America 6/28/22
Carbon Pollution from Transportation EPA 2022
PM2.5 polluters disproportionately and systemically affect people of color in the United States Science 4/28/21