Once pollution-spewing vehicles enter our communities, they pose a serious and lasting threat to children's health. Federal and state regulators must require automakers to install existing clean car technologies on all the cars and trucks they produce. Everyone should be able to drive vehicles that emit fewer smog chemical pollutants, to reduce the risk that their children develop asthma.

In response to a serious smog problem, the state of California has developed many pioneering programs to reduce pollution. Automakers are forced to innovate to achieve California's protective health standards, and in the process have discovered that many new technologies can dramatically reduce smog emissions at a low cost. California's vehicle buy back programs reduce pollution from the worst cars, and residents can call in to report smoking vehicles that pollute their neighborhoods. Here are more ways that regulators can reduce smog:

Federal regulators should:

• Tighten vehicle emissions regulations.

The state of California's vehicle emissions regulations are far more health protective than U.S. regulations. Automakers have been able to meet California's emissions requirements with ease. By tightening regulations at the federal level, Americans in other parts of the country would be able to purchase cleaner vehicles previously reserved for residents of California and other states that have adopted California's regulations.

• Require prominent labeling of pollution ratings on all new vehicles offered for sale in the US.

The state of California requires that manufacturers affix an informational label to the driver's side window of all new vehicles, which informs buyers of the vehicle's relative smog chemical emissions. In contrast, federal regulations require only that the emissions standard of a vehicle be marked underneath the hood of the auto. By providing drivers with easy-to-understand information about pollution, regulators can help the public make choices that protect the health of local communities.

• Reformulate gasoline to reduce smog chemical emissions.

The chemical properties of gasoline influence the amount of pollution produced when the gasoline is burned. Reformulated gasoline will help all vehicles produce less pollution.

State regulators should:

• Create a vehicle inspection and maintenance program like the California Smog Check program to catch the worst polluters on the road.

Many state and local agencies have implemented vehicle inspection and maintenance programs to alleviate smog throughout the US. However, many more smoggy regions could still benefit from the establishment of similar programs to control vehicle emissions.

• Create a buy back programs to get the oldest, highest polluting vehicles off the road.

Because older autos produce more pollution, an effective way to reduce smog is to retire the oldest vehicles on the road. A buy back program manages this without penalizing low-income drivers, those most likely to own older vehicles.

• Adopt California vehicle emissions standards.

Many states have adopted California's vehicle emissions regulations, which are more health protective than federal regulations.

• Reformulate gasoline to reduce smog chemical emissions.

States may also require reformulation of gasoline to reduce vehicle pollution.

Read the report and learn about how cars contribute to America's asthma epidemic. Smog causes lifelong damage to our children's lungs.

The Cleanest Cars

2005 Dodge Ram 3500 Pickup
Check the Auto Asthma Index for a different vehicle.