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Letter: Makeup of gasoline, business closings cleaned up L.A. air

Published January 15, 2014 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Alan Eastman, in his letter "Utah should require cleaner cars, as California does" (Forum, Jan. 10), mistakenly attributes improvement in air quality in the Los Angeles Basin to "very efficient pollution controls on all automobiles sold in the state." With very minor exceptions, all vehicles sold in the U.S. are 50-state legal.

The primary reason for the improvement in L.A.'s air quality is due to reformulation of gasoline. Fifty years ago, it took about two hours for tailpipe emissions to turn into photochemical smog, which was trapped in the L.A. basin. Now, it takes about 10 hours for tailpipe emissions to turn into photochemical smog.

The result: Tailpipe emissions have enough time to blow east from L.A. to San Bernardino and Riverside counties. So, L.A.'s air is better, and the air in mid-size cities of San Bernardino, Rialto, Highland, Riverside and Ontario is dramatically worse.

The second main reason is that L.A.'s South Coast Air Quality Management District, which regulates stationary sources of air pollution, effectively forced the closure of many medium-size businesses, ranging from commercial bakeries to paint manufacturers to cabinet finishers.

Phil Palmintere

Park City

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