That was the title of my toddler sons’ favorite book, and there were days when I cursed Richard Scarry for having to spend hours reading about cars and trucks, and days when I blessed him for having figured out exactly how to distract and soothe at least two little boys–and millions of other children.
Our babies have come a long way. They are now buying their own cars and trucks and things that go. And if their moms have anything to say about it, their vehicles will be as efficient and non-polluting as possible. (You were wondering how I was going to make the leap from Richard Scarry to the EPA, right?)
The Environmental Protection Agency has just announced The Tier 3 Standards– a proposed set of rules to further cut tailpipe emissions and clean up the fuel that we put in our cars. The rules will reduce harmful ozone, air toxics and particulates.
In the U.S., passenger vehicles remain the second largest emitters of oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s)—the pollutants that form ozone. Nearly half the people in the U.S. live in areas with unhealthy levels of ozone pollution.
The Tier 3 Standards will reduce the amount of sulfur in U. S. gasoline. That alone will result in an immediate reduction of emissions that is the equivalent of taking 33 million cars off our nation’s roads—without taking a single car off the roads!
Lower sulfur gas will also enable auto manufacturers to install more sophisticated catalyst technologies in their engines—and that means cars will emit far less smog-forming pollutants from their tailpipes.
Reducing the sulfur content in gasoline will bring the U.S. standard in line with those of Japan, the European Union, and California. Opponents of these standards—and many auto manufacturers are supporting them—claim that these health protections are too expensive. But careful analysis shows that they will provide healthier, longer lives for millions of Americans for a penny a gallon of gasoline.
Cars are such a central part of our families’ lives. And women have an enormous amount of power when it comes to buying cars; women buy 54% of the cars in the U.S. and influence 84% of all vehicle purchase decisions. Our voices are important, so we must let Washington lawmakers know that Moms want cleaner fuel and more efficient cars.
Parents are always thinking of ways to teach our children about the world around us. It will be nice, someday, not to have to teach them about pollution. It sure isn’t a subject Richard Scarry got into much; though his drawings show the occasional puff of smoke from tailpipes, most of the time the only things flying from his charming cars and trucks were fleas or pickles. But I like to think he would be pleased to know that the “things that go” are getting more kid-friendly—and kinder to our skies–in the coming years.
Drawing: Richard Scarry, Cars