Thu, 27 Dec 2012, 12:48am PST
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We were better off taking our chances with the Oil barons than casting our lot with the EPA.
Actually.... no we weren't and its easy to make the case.
1: Before the EPA, we had leaded gas. The EPA banned lead in gas. So you can thank them today that you aren't breathing lead fumes
2: Before the EPA cars did not have catalytic converters. Raw exhaust came out of the tail pipe. Go look up any image of any major city during the 50's-70s before Cats. The air is literally orange. After the EPA mandated catalytic converters, you can thank them for being able to drive around in even the largest cities- like LA- and have clear air.
3: Before the EPA, there was no such thing as a superfund site. If you don't know what this is, do some reading. But basically a superfund site is a location that was heavily polluted with substances known to be harmful or hazardous. This includes sites that are in some cases very close to heavily populated areas. The EPA actually goes in and cleans these sites and in many cases makes them safer or even safe. So if you live in a major or even minor metro, chances are there's at least one or two of these sites somewhere within that metro. You can thank the EPA for cleaning those up either in the past, present or future.
4: The EPA also sets standards for drinking water as well. If you enjoy having some of the cleanest public water in the Western world.... thank the EPA.
5: The EPA raises fuel economy standards for vehicles- and yes- this is what a lot of conservatives focus on. But I'd like these same people to please tell us why this is a bad thing. All we ever hear is that these legislations are "Job killers" or some other generic claim. But the fact of the matter is that even though fuel economy is increased, so too has the average horsepower and torque per cubic inch of displacement. So in other words, many of today's full size, V8 powered trucks are now getting some of the same MPGs as many of the 4 cylinder compact cars of the 80's while delivering MORE horsepower and torque than any of those huge gas-guzzling behemoths from the 70's and even 90's. Some of the 4 cylinder cars now get 40+ MPG and also deliver as much Horsepower as some of those infamous muscle cars of the 70's. So why is this a good thing? Because Americans now have better choices and come the day there might be an oil shortage of some sort, better prepared because their vehicles get better economy. I'd love to see an argument claiming that those old clunkers from the 70s' were better or that we would have been better off not changing a single thing that made improvements in fuel economy.
But I'm not done yet. Want to know WHY mandating cars to get better economy ultimately turned out to be a good thing? Its because admittedly the first generation of cars that used mandated emission controls were truly awful: The carbs were tied to a mess of vacuum lines, the cats packed up, and the power was cut to anemic levels. What changed? Onboard computer management, or ECU systems to control emission, air, and fuel equipment. This was out of necessity to further improve engine performance in light of new regulations. It was this implementation of engine control systems that led to the engines of today, where computers are able to closely monitor the engine and its use of fuel and power at all times versus something as simple as a carburetor that simply sprayed gas into the cylinders regardless of the condition or stress of the engine. So as a result, we now have not only more efficient cars, but faster and more powerful cars- all thanks to emission controls and ECUs. Had there not been these requirements, automakers would not have had to place ECUs into their cars and who knows? Today we might still be driving cars using 100+ year old technology and paying way more at the pump as well. So again- if you like having the ability to not only buy a fast, powerful car, but one that gets good fuel economy to boot..... thanks the EPA.