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  • Writer's pictureJulie Pimentel

Clean Cars and California's Climate Goals

California's transportation is a tricky subject. Many coastal cities in the state were built in the 1940s and '50s, with layouts that were not well equipped for the growing populations and tourists that pass through. Commuters know this all too well, and spend countless hours stuck in traffic on freeways that can't expand any more; the longer those cars run and idle, the larger amount of polluting carbon monoxide gets released into the atmosphere. For the sake of our environment, many locals have opted to drive electric or hybrid cars that do less overall damage in the time they spend on the roadways.

To no surprise, California is far ahead of the curve when it comes to fighting long-term environmental change. For example, as members of Santa Cruz County, DeLaveaga Collision is recognized as a Clean Ocean Business; we adhere very strictly to codes that prevent excess oil or other hazardous materials from draining from our establishment into the ocean. The Clean Ocean initiative joins nearly 120 other laws and incentives that aim to discourage automobile pollution - and many of them feature clean cars as a welcome solution.

As far as numbers go, the incentives have definitely proven effective as over half of the entire country's electric vehicles live here, on California roadways; however, the growing number of registered electric vehicles is still a ways off from the standard that the state would like to meet in the coming years. California's environmental bureau intends for 1 million electric vehicles to be on the road by 2023, 1.5 million by 2025, and 5 million by 2030. Despite the growing number of electric vehicles on the road, auto emissions in the state have still risen by at least 1% per year since 2016. So what gives?

As it turns out, gas-powered vehicles aren't going away any time soon. Sales of clean vehicles are on the rise, and that rate is increasing rapidly; however, while there are still plenty traditional auto- mobiles in circulation, and while those being produced are more friendly to the wallet, the electric vehicle market will have a hard time meeting this mark. Less than half of all households in California have purchased a new vehicle in the last seven years, and many people are still hesitant to purchase electric in lieu of gasoline.

Regardless of the circumstances, or what happens in the upcoming years, it doesn't matter much what type of car you own - its your ecological footprint that matters. The rise in emissions despite the decrease in cars emitting points more largely to the problem of increased drivers and number of hours spent roadside. Without needing to purchase a brand new car, we can still make change in our local community by being mindful of where our waste goes, and conserving electricity wherever possible. Small habit changes can go a long way in the grand scheme of our planet.

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