What was the worst emissions control device?

Clear, vinyl seat covering, appropriate for any dog and kid 1-4 years old or a bunch of either rug rats.

@MarkM, I grew up in Torrance. I remember the rare clear winter day when you could see the San Gabriel Mountains. Other than that, it was usually a brown-gray haze as you looked inland. And every afternoon as the breeze came in you could smell and feel the cleaner air coming in from the ocean. I remember smog alerts and having recess inside because of them.

Anyone who thinks emissions testing and control devices aren’t a positive thing just doesn’t know or remember what it was like before.

Or they can take a look at China. Off-the-scale pollution readings in the last year.

Agreed with asemaster. I lived in Garden Grove, CA for a short time in the early 70s and while the board of tourism might put out brochures with beautiful mountain scenery the norm was an outline in a brown haze. Sometimes, they could barely be seen at all.

In my opinion one of, if not the biggest, improvements was the phasing out of leaded gasoline. There’s a night and day difference when comparing the deposits on a leaded gas, 100k miles cylinder head and a similar unleaded gas head or in the comparison of piston top deposits.

I’ve gone on record many times as saying that teh EPA has truely done a great deal of good. I remember the years of brown rivers and urban smog. But I content that their omnipresence and unassailable mandates have goone too far, to where they’re doing harm rather than good. They’re no longer guided by the Clean Air And Water Act, they’re now regulating whatever they feel like to whatever level they declare.

I’ve discussed before the homes that have been at Plumb Island in Mass for generations being wash away because the Mass branch of the EPA (the Department of Environmental Protection) banned the residents from putting up natural stone barriers at their own expense.

I’ve discussed the EPA promugated rules for lightbulbs…that will shortly mandate bulbs containing mercury vapor…trillions of bulbs…each of which is a HAZMAT spill if it breaks. Anynoe care to guess how many of those trillions of bulbs will end up in the landfill?

I-93, an eastern highway, has been well beyond its design capacity for decades. People die there. Plans to expand it have been developed for years, but court battles by an out of state agency named the “Conservation Law Foundation” delayed the widening at least 10 years and added countless millions to the cost…probably billions.

I could go on, but you get the point. The EPA did great good and was absolutely necessary when it was founded. But I cannot support it as being a good thing in its current state.

I agree with mountainbike that the EPA has gotten carried away with some of this stuff. A behemoth organization full of political hacks who want to appear that they’re accomplishing something so they start throwing mud against the wall.

You’re exactly right about those CFL light bulbs also. When those bulbs break or burn out guess where they’re going? It won’t be a recycling facility; it will be the household trash can which will go into the trash truck which will then dump it on the ground at the landfill.

There’s also the issue of a CFL bulb with the same wattage rating not putting out as much light as an incandescent of the same rating.

The city near me put up a recycling facility here some years ago and I fail to see where it is environmentally friendly.
People will jump in their car and make a 10 mile round trip to drop off 2 empty plastic milk cartons. It hardly seems worthwhile to weigh that plastic against the automotive costs and emissions. I suppose the driver of the vehicle feels warm and fuzzy about it though…

Good illustration about people driving 10 miles to drop off a few recycleable bottles.

While I believe the EPA is out of control, I do support a good recycling center. When I lived in Litchfield, the town dum set up a center where ithere was a large empty building with three holes (with barrels) in the floor vor plastic, glass, and (I forget the third barrel’s diet). The holes dumped right into haul-away truck trailers. The rest of the building had tables and areas dedicated to TVs, exercise equipment, toys, appliances, etc. etc. Anyone who had something in these categories could leave it in the marked area and someone else could pick it up, repair it, and reuse it. THAT is real recycling. I’ve personallly gotten free vacuums, TVs, and exercise equipment. I also used to pick up the free bicycles, combine, repaint and repair them, and give them to kids who couldn’t afford bikes. It was fun.

But the recycling I speak of isn’t EPA mandated. It’s just good ol’ common sense. My grandfather didn;t throw things away, he fixed them. If he couldn’t fix them, he took them apart and used the parts elsewhere. Or shared with neighbors, to help them repair their stuff.

That city I mentioned has been one of the worst polluters around while touting the green aspect of things and setting up a recycling program.

At one time the way they were disposing of raw sewage was by pumping the liquid down the creek. Front end loaders and Bobcats were used to scrape up the more solid waste which was then loaded into trucks.
Where did they dump this? Right on the ground with household trash at the city landfill…

A little common sense goes a long way. Some municipalities tell people to wash tin cans with hot water and detergent to get them clean and then flatten them before putting them in the recycling bin!!! My response is “GET LOST”!!! If we cannot rinse the can out with cold water it goes on the garbage.

Another electric utility told housewives to let all the food cool down to room temperature before putting it in the refrigerator, just to save on a little electricity. The cost of spoiled food did not occur to them.

We now have the recycling bins picked up at the curb weekly. Prior to that we had to take our stuff to the nearest shopping mall where they had large dumpsters for each kind of recyclables. I would make that trip once a month with a full trunk of materials.

Our local guys have begun charging for the acceptance of electrical items and appliances and refusing some items. This is IMHO another example of a good thing gone too far. I fear that if they continue along this path our woods will again become dumping grounds.

Isn’t a river all water ?
The river in Cleaveland caught on FIRE many years back !

Hey, @asemaster, I’m also from Torrance. West High, 1980. Yup, those clear winter days when Mt. Baldy was right there were so great. Even before settlement the air in the LA basin was supposedly hazy, so some of that poor visibility was unavoidable. It seemed like there were always a few bad smog days early in the school year when the Santa Anas were blowing. I don’t remember ever having school cancelled, but we didn’t have PE on those days and had to stay indoors during recess and lunch. Things were already starting to look a little better by the time I finished high school, and now it’s nothing like it was way back when.

As long as we have people with the " me first" attitude and continue to treat the atmosphere and watershed as a convenient dump and sewer,we will need the EPA. A lot of folks dont care who lives downwind or downstream,it took me awhile,but I finally realized what a hypocrite I was-Kevin

We do need the EPA, but they are still IMHO the worst emissions control device. Why? Because they are the reason all the other emissions-control devices exist.

I have to say, im no tree hugger. However, I do feel that we have a duty to minimize our impact to an extent. Now, im going to run my a/c and be comfortable, I work in the heat all day and im not going to be hot when I get home. I am now starting to try to minimize my fuel usage. I have been too ignorant for to many years.

I was not trying to say we didn’t need emission control devices, some of them do not work well and should have never been released mainstream is all I was trying to say.

I work with a guy that changed his differential cover and just dumped the old oil on the ground, now thats lazy… I know you may drip a little at times, but to just dump it??

I work in the electric industry, PCBs are a horrible contaminant. they did their intended job well, but they stay in the environment, are a major health hazard and never break down. Now countless streams and rivers are contaminated with PCBs because places just used to dump them. The EPA is needed. The EPA is a good thing overall.

Let the people who work in offices at the epa come home and set their t stats to 78 degrees, im not…

So are we saying that vehicles should have no emission control devices? should we go back to carbs?

I remember a time when raspberries along roadways tested high in lead. I am glad to have lead out of gasoline. I remember smog blanketed cities, and up at the cabins as a kid remember horizon to horizon stars. Those went away in the 70’s turning into a mybe 15 degree loss of visible stars. It is not as clear as it used to be, but a greater angle than before, Down to a 10 degree loss of visibility of stars. I do not know of any studies for asbestos in brakes. Yes the EPA has it’s place, but is everything good? I do not know. I do see little benefit in ethanol.

I remember a time when raspberries along roadways tested high in lead.

They are still reading high levels of lead in the soil next to major highways. Lead is an element…so it doesn’t break-down. It may wash away if there’s enough rain.


The only ones benefiting from ethanol are the farm industry

@MarkM, I graduated in 87 and moved to Washington State. I rarely get back anymore. 2009, 2002, 1999, a few times before that. Hardly recognize some of the places anymore. Redondo Beach pier burned down. Took my kids to see where daddy hung out as a teen and it was disappointing. I still remember riding my Schwinn Cruiser 5 to Del Amo Mall and getting some white Levis at Miller’s Outpost. Walking along the beach with my girl. Going to see friends in Riverside and wondering who breathes all that yellow air. Mom still works at Torrance Memorial.

I left immediately after high school and have only been back rarely. I have a sister in Playa del Rey, but that’s about as close as I usually get. I lived just south of Old Towne Mall (or was it Olde Towne?), so often went down to Del Amo, too. Went to elementary school for a couple of years at Madrona, right across the street, so went to the mall whenever I needed stuff at J. K. Gill. And clothes from Miller’s Outpost, absolutely, though my mom usually insisted we shop at Penney’s or Sears. Yuck.

At least we had a lot of car dealerships nearby to see the latest models. There was even a brief time when a couple of the dealerships had mini showrooms right inside the mall. They didn’t last very long. One was run by Del Amo Dodge, I know. I first saw the funny little Colt Vista wagon thingy there, right in the mall. The security patrol got on my case once in the mall parking lot when my eye was caught by a new Alfa Romeo. I don’t think I’d been checking it out for more than a minute when he rolled up and told me to cut it out and go home. Obviously not an Alfista.