‘Carmageddon’ in LA makes ‘Carmaheaven’

From the University of California – Los Angeles  and the WUWT Obvious Science Department:

With Westwood and UCLA in the middleground

UCLA in the middleground on a clear day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

‘Carmaheaven': Closure of 405 in 2011 improved air quality up to 83 percent

Take the time to enjoy a deep breath next weekend when the 405 freeway closes for Carmageddon II. If it’s anything like last year, the air quality is about to get amazing.

In study findings announced Sept. 28, UCLA researchers report that they measured air pollutants during last year’s Carmageddon (July 15) and found that when 10 miles of the 405 closed, air quality near the shuttered portion improved within minutes, reaching levels 83 percent better than on comparable weekends.

Because traffic dipped all over Southern California that weekend, air quality also improved 75 percent in parts of West Los Angeles and Santa Monica and an average of 25 percent regionally — from Ventura to Yucaipa, and Long Beach to Santa Clarita.

The study was led by two professors at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability: Yifang Zhu, who is also an associate professor of environmental health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and Suzanne Paulson, who is also a professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences.

While the researchers expected cleaner air, they didn’t expect the improvement to be so dramatic.

“The air was amazingly clean that weekend,” Paulson said. “Our measurements in Santa Monica were almost below what our instruments could detect, and the regional effect was significant. It was a really eye-opening glimpse of what the future could be like if we can move away from combustion engines.”

The research gives a peek at what the air would look like in a healthier Los Angeles with a vast majority of hybrid and electric vehicles and shows how quickly less driving can improve key measures of air quality. But to get a regional effect, the researchers said, you need a regional drop in traffic, like what Los Angeles saw during the first Carmageddon — and it doesn’t last if traffic returns.

“The effect was gone by the next week,” Paulson said. “We measured fresh emissions: pollutants that come directly from cars. It’s a very short-term effect.”

Taking measurements

The researchers measured ultrafine particles (less than 0.1 microns in diameter), which are key indicators of real-time traffic levels, and also fine particulate matter known as “PM2.5″ (less than 2.5 microns in diameter), which includes tailpipe emissions and new particles created when the emissions interact with the atmosphere. PM2.5 can spread farther from the freeway and last longer than ultrafine particles, but both are pollutants with health risks. Exposure to near-roadway pollutants has been linked to increases in asthma, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, low birth weight, pre-term births and other ailments, the researchers noted.

Zhu and Paulson found that when traffic dropped more than 90 percent on the closed 405, with only construction vehicles still on the move, ultrafine particles dropped by 83 percent. PM2.5 concentrations dropped 36 percent.

More broadly, ultrafine particles and PM2.5 levels dropped 75 percent across a swath of West Los Angeles near the I-405/I-10 interchange stretching from Santa Monica to Westwood. Elsewhere, they measured PM2.5 and found the air 31 percent cleaner in Ventura, 19 percent cleaner in Yucaipa, 30 percent cleaner in Long Beach, 23.2 percent cleaner in Santa Clarita and 19.9 percent cleaner in Northridge.

“There is no safe level of PM2.5 concentrations, where you would no longer observe health impacts, so any reduction is an improvement,” Zhu said. “This study shows that with such dramatic traffic reductions, there are specific air-quality improvements. It gives policymakers and the public incentives to put more effort into reducing traffic emissions.”

Zhu’s team set up instruments 50 meters upwind and downwind of the 405 near UCLA, where Constitution Avenue crosses the freeway, and measured pollutant levels for 12 hours each Friday, Saturday and Sunday the weekend before, during and after the first Carmageddon.

Zhu used a condensation particle counter and a scanning mobility particle sizer to measure ultrafine particles, a dusttrack to measure PM2.5 amounts, and a video of traffic on the 405 that allowed her team to count and compare traffic volumes.

“People knew about the closure, so we started to see a traffic reduction early Friday, and our data showed a similar trend almost immediately,” Zhu said. “Pollutant levels drop in real time.”

Paulson’s team drove instruments around in their “mobile measurement platform” — a late-1990s electric Toyota Rav-4 equipped with a fast mobility particle sizer to detect ultrafine particle levels and a dusttrack to measure PM2.5 concentrations. The team has used the same route since 2008 and can compare measurements over the years, from Santa Monica’s Sunset Park neighborhood to the Santa Monica Airport, and from north of the 10 freeway, across the 405, and into Rancho Park and Westwood.

For measurements across the Southern California basin, Zhu and Paulson used South Coast Air Quality Management District measures of PM2.5 levels and CalTrans measures of traffic.

Carmageddon II: To breathe, or not to breathe?

Though the pair will not duplicate their research for Carmageddon II this weekend, if there’s less traffic again, the basin will get a brief reprieve from pollution.

“It has to be a significant, regional change, not just 10 miles of freeway closing,” Paulson said. “It was really, really, really clean in Santa Monica, and I don’t think that was due just to the 405, because the wind blows in from the ocean. I think it was due to people not driving around in Santa Monica.”

Indeed, traffic was measurably lower across the Southland, compared with a normal weekend: down 56 percent in Northridge, 21 percent in Ventura, 17 percent in Santa Clarita and Westminster, and 4 percent to 7 percent in Yucaipa, Long Beach, Pomona and Chino.

In fact, without fancy instruments like the dusttrack or a fast mobility particle sizer, traffic may be the only way the average person will know whether air quality is better this weekend.

“These pollutants are too small to see,” Zhu said. “The public will notice if there’s less traffic, but they won’t detect the particles in the air.”

It’s not clear whether Los Angeles will get a repeat of last year’s “Carmaheaven” traffic, but now we know to take advantage, Paulson said.

“If it turns out there’s very little traffic on the freeways,” she said, “everyone should go out and experience what clean air can be like.”

###

The UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability is an educational and research institute that unites disciplines: physical, life and social sciences; business and economics; public policy and urban planning; engineering and technology; and medicine and public health. IoES includes multiple cross-disciplinary research centers, and its environmental science undergraduate degree program is one of the fastest growing majors at UCLA. IoES advises businesses and policymakers on sustainability and the environment and informs and encourages community discussion about critical environmental issues.

For more news, visit the UCLA Newsroom and follow us on Twitter.

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55 Responses to ‘Carmageddon’ in LA makes ‘Carmaheaven’

  1. 4 eyes says:

    Air moves, sorta as in wind. Of course if you measure the particulates after the freeway is shut the air will be better because the contaminated air has shifted to somewhere else in a matter of minutes. Research is not required to know this.

  2. Lancifer says:

    “There is no safe level of PM2.5 concentrations…”

    Hello new environmental weenie cash cow.

  3. Ben Wilson says:

    Gee, I wonder if any of them thar’ researchers make use of internal combustion engines for their daily transportation. . . . .

  4. Arno Arrak says:

    And the point of measuring these invisible particles is? That is a question someone should have asked before they opted to fund this project. I have no idea from their description of how they justified this boondoggle but I sure would like to hear their answer to this question. I am also so stupid that I have no idea why they have to have a carmaggedon in the first place. Is it a part of their project? Precisely why are public funds dedicated to to something that produces no observable benefit for the public? Is it because California budget is in surplus and they need to unload their excess revenue? Or is this another stealth project the public does not know about until it is decided for them by their betters? Perhaps I am just unreasonable to assume that in a democracy the public has a say about matters affecting public interest.

  5. Richdo says:

    “PM2.5 can spread farther from the freeway and last longer than ultrafine particles, but both are pollutants with health risks. Exposure to near-roadway pollutants has been linked to increases in asthma, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, low birth weight, pre-term births and other ailments, the researchers noted.”

    Hey I have an idea…let’s set up an inhalation chamber at a major university and have “volunteer” human subjects breath this sh!t and see what happens to them.

    Oh, wait, the epa’s already done that. Never mind.

  6. theBuckWheat says:

    “There is no safe level of PM2.5 concentrations, where you would no longer observe health impacts, so any reduction is an improvement,” Zhu said.

    Then how does the EPA justify exposing human test subjects to it, except that they gave themselves a pass, something they would never give to any private researcher.

  7. FerdinandAkin says:

    FOUR OH FIVE (the movie)

    [Has someone giving 'the finger' at the end. Anthony? Judgement? -ModE]

  8. davidmhoffer says:

    “There is no safe level of PM2.5 concentrations, where you would no longer observe health impacts, so any reduction is an improvement,” Zhu said.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    There is no safe speed for cars below which accidents don’t occurr.
    There is no safe number of steps on a staircase below which there is no chance that people will fall down the stairs.
    There is no safe amount of food to eat below which your chances of getting a food born disease are zero.
    There is no safe distance to walk short of which your chances of being struck by lightning are zero.

    I love the “no safe limit” argument. So easily exposed as completely absurd.

  9. rogerknights says:

    There’s no safe speed for traffic, so let’s set the speed limit at zero.

  10. OOOH 83% better! But that’s not 97%!….

  11. Wonder what would result if all the “combustion cars” were converted to run on natural gas? Of course, electric cars create their own emissions back at the power plant, How much depends upon how “electrically efficient” the cars are and what kind of plants they draw their power from. Natural gas cars probably produce fewer particulates than electric cars at this point in time at many locales. But I think the issue is moot – practical batteries look to be not far off. A cheap, fast recharging battery will quickly make ICE powered vehicles obsolete, and it won’t have much to do with emissions. They’re simply more cost effective, given a cheap battery. And subsidizing those folks buying $80,000 Tesla electrics ain’t gonna make cheap batteries show up any faster.
    Everybody and his brother is trying to invent a better battery these days.

  12. _Jim says:

    Lancifer says September 28, 2012 at 3:46 pm:

    “There is no safe level of PM2.5 concentrations…”

    Hello new environmental weenie cash cow.

    Ding! Ding! Ding! Three bells in a row! Pay the man as he’s spot on I think; another round of ‘rent seekers’ (or what used to be called here in the US: “ambulance chasers” – client-seeking attorneys willing to sue for negligence at the drop of a hat) re: PM2.5 et al …

    .

  13. temp says:

    Maybe if they made a freeway that wasn’t a parking lot much of the time that would help as well…

  14. Steve C says:

    With all that lovely fresh air around, perhaps someone will write a carmagnole to celebrate it. [Since you ask, it was a popular song and round dance of the French Revolutionary period, but I'm sure the period could be a little more flexibly defined for a good wordplay.]

  15. Doug Huffman says:

    NAS-BEIR VII continues to force Linear No Threshold hypothesis into public policy despite good evidence of Radiation Hormesis. Thanks John William Gofman NOT!

  16. Dilligas says:

    Lancifer says:
    September 28, 2012 at 3:46 pm
    “There is no safe level of PM2.5 concentrations…”
    Hello new environmental weenie cash cow.

    It is the reason why hundreds of coal mines and coal fired electric plants will be shuttering their doors recently and in the near future. And one of the main reasons why energy prices are set to skyrocket in 2015.

    Do I need to go on?

  17. RoyFOMR says:

    Dunno where I heard this or maybe I just made it up. I’m getting old so forgive me.
    ‘Twas a dark dreary night about 30K years ago, a couple of very wise Neanderthals were talking about climate change.
    ‘All this wood-burning isn’t sustainable. What happens when all the trees are gone?”
    The elder of the two thought for a moment and rubbed his beard.
    ‘You’re right of course’ he said.
    ‘It’s morally repugnant that we should deprive our descendents of the very stuff of existence while we wallow in such riches’ he continued
    The discussion went on and on until, finally, they came to a consensus.
    All the tribes, all the elders and all the academies gathered to hear the wise words of their most able intellects.
    Votes were taken and despite a few, well-meant but misguided sceptical voices the decision was taken
    Homo Sapiens would have to do all the dirty stuff.
    Old age forgetfulness strikes again.
    Don’t ‘member how it worked out.
    Sigh.

  18. This is largely the same game that’s played with the secondhand smoke PM 2.5 studies. See p. 9 at http://tinyurl.com/SmokingBanLies (Bans Reduce Bar Air Pollution by 81, no, 87, no, 93%!) for a critical (although superficial) analysis of the same type of PM2.5 study applied to bars. Basically they’re saying “Gee, if we remove the main (and almost unique) source of this type of pollution, the pollution levels go down!” Gee, big surprise.

    The only way in which the finding would be notable would be if we’d had no idea why urban hubs congested with auto traffic had higher PM 2.5 counts than rural farmland. *OF COURSE* the reading goes down when you remove the source.

    Now… the second part of the question is where it gets tricky: the health impact. Despite the “no safe level” claims for 24 hour average urban exposures, the lower ends of impact of lower levels of exposure have not, to my knowledge, been decisively defined. On the plus side for the researchers though, at least automotive air pollution studies follow EPA guidelines for 24 hour comparisons — unlike the bar-smoking studies that deliberately ignore EPA guidance and try to apply 24 hour standards to exposures dealing with 8 hours or 1 hours: a very different kettle of fish.

    BuckWheat: yes, the justifications for exposing human test subjects is a story in itself. See Steve Milloy’s take on this at: http://epahumantesting.com/

    Again, there’s a parallel in the secondhand smoke research area: James Repace (The “Health Physicist” who styles himself as a world-class “secondhand smoke consultant”) sends folks into smoky situations to measure PM 2.5 all the time, and holds forth at great length on its deadlinesss at any level. Yet, if you look at his research papers themselves you find gems like this:
    “No risk is expected to volunteers in collecting the data or to anyone in the restaurants during data collection via the air monitor.” http://www.co.marquette.mi.us/departments/health_department/docs/Marquette_Air_Report_Repace_2011.pdf

    So, do these pollutants at low levels or for short exposure durations have a real health impact? I don’t believe they do — at least not in any real sense of the words “health impact” in terms of individual concerns and life decisions. On the other hand, you’re probably healthier if you don’t spend 24 hours a day living in Los Angeles or the pool room of a smoky bar.

    Finally, if you want to read more on this debate, I’d recommend Googling the following:

    ( “James Enstrom” PM2.5 )

    in parentheses just like that. Enstrom’s been the victim of “Lysenko politics” for daring to speak out against PM2.5 extremists in both the smoking and the diesel exhaust battles and was actually fired from a decades long stint at UCSF (?UCLA?) a couple of years ago and then reinstated after a battle.

    – MJM

  19. pat says:

    as i’m getting Superannuation (retirement funds) adverts on this page, anthony, including “switzer super report” which is on australia’s sky business channel, i feel this is not O/T:

    29 Sept: News Ltd: The $60 trillion push to turn funds green
    A GLOBAL project aims to encourage pension and superannuation fund members to shift some of their $60 trillion in savings into funds that support clean and green technology.
    Deutsche Bank estimates less than two per cent of money held by pension, superannuation and sovereign wealth funds is invested in low-carbon assets.
    Now the independent, not-for-profit Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP) is asking the world’s largest 1000 asset owners to reveal how they are addressing climate change and the “green economy”…
    A related project, The Vital Few, launched in New York overnight, is aimed at getting fund members to join forces and put pressure on fund trustees to shift assets to climate-friendly investments and protect their savings from the risk posed by climate change.
    Some of the biggest Australian funds to be covered by the global index include ARIA, AMP, AustralianSuper, Colonial First State, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and Perpetual.
    John O’Connor, from the Climate Institute which is the Australian home of the AODP, said there were dual benefits from the projects.
    “It’s about encouraging people to redirect their savings from ***high-carbon, high-risk investments to ones that can help secure a sustainable and prosperous low-carbon future and ensure safe member returns,” Mr O’Connor told AAP…
    http://www.news.com.au/business/breaking-news/the-60-trillion-push-to-turn-funds-green/story-e6frfkur-1226483864148

    who are they trying to fool? what could be more high-risk than sinking people’s retirement funds into CAGW (ad)ventures? anyone whose money is tied up in such funds, and who objects, needs to write to their fund and complain.

  20. Steve in SC says:

    temp says:
    September 28, 2012 at 5:34 pm
    Maybe if they made a freeway that wasn’t a parking lot much of the time that would help as well…

    I believe we have a winner.
    I must say that this being California, my sympathies are extremely limited.

  21. Ian L. McQueen says:

    @Arno Arrak:
    September 28, 2012 at 4:21 pm
    And the point of measuring these invisible particles is? That is a question someone should have asked before they opted to fund this project.

    Arno-
    You probably live in Europe and may not have read of the temporary closing of expressway 405 for necessary construction work. For details see: http://news.yahoo.com/los-angeles-revives-traffic-jam-warnings-carmageddon-2-194914169.html. There may be more by googling ‘carmageddon”, where I found this.

    IanM

  22. jim says:

    No safe level??
    Look up hormesis
    Thanks
    JK

  23. “The air was amazingly clean that weekend,” Paulson said. “… It was a really eye-opening glimpse of what the future could be like if we can move away from combustion engines.

    Even zero-emission vehicles lift and mobilize fine particulate materials on and near the road surface by their passage. Prof. Paulson is absolutely mistaken if she thinks that the road closure approximates the effect of replacing a normal volume of traffic with zero-emmission vehicles.

  24. theduke says:

    I’m 64 years old and they are going to have to pry that gas pump from my cold dead hands.

    Next year I plan to buy a Grand Cherokee hemi with 8 speed transmission. Can’t wait.

  25. Bart says:

    Yeah, there is a danger of taking things to extremes. But, LA sure would be a lot nicer without all the air pollution. On some clear days, it actually is quite beautiful. Granted, it’s probably better now than any time in at least the last 50 years, but still not stellar. Maybe if pollution were not so visible to Angelenos, they wouldn’t be so whackadoodle about environmental stuff.

    FerdinandAkin says:
    September 28, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    “[Has someone giving 'the finger' at the end. Anthony? Judgement? -ModE]“

    Of course, that only served to make me watch it. Pretty funny.

  26. Sounds like an interesting study with some results worth considering. I was surprised at this, however: “Though the pair will not duplicate their research for Carmageddon II this weekend . . .” Seems like they would be all over the opportunity to replicate the results, given the very unusual circumstances that allow them to have little to no traffic for a couple of days straight.

    On the other hand, given that they say the drop is pronounced and detectable almost immediately, it should be possible to closely track the particulates and identify significant changes during the course of a single day (rush hour, for example, versus the middle of the night; workday versus weekend morning; etc.).

  27. old engineer says:

    “ ‘There is no safe level of PM2.5 concentrations, where you would no longer observe health impacts, so any reduction is an improvement,’ Zhu said.”

    As defined by EPA, PM2.5 or “fine particulate” is a criteria pollutant that has a Primary National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). That standard, as of 2006, is 35 micrograms per cubic meter for a 24 hr average, and 15 micrograms per cubic meter annual average.

    See: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/naaqs/standards/pm/data/fr20061017.pdf

    So yes, there is a safe level of PM2.5. It is defined by the NAAQS.

    Above the NAAQS the air might be considered “unsafe” by EPA And just how many areas are above the PM2.5 NAAQS? Not very many. But that does include the whole Central Valley of California, and Los Angeles County.

    See: http://www.epa.gov/oar/oaqps/greenbk/mappm25_2006.html

    I didn’t see any reference to wind direction and speed, nor any indication of measurement of mixing height. Even 20 years ago, I have been in L.A. when the air was crystal clear, and you almost reach out and touch the mountains from LAX. But I have also seen days that you couldn’t see the mountains. Let’s have a comparison of atmospheric conditions also, not just PM2.5.

    And while I’m at it, PM2.5 is not a good indication of vehicle traffic- too many other sources. Even now, with really efficient exhaust catalysts, CO would be the pollutant I would use to look at to see the effect of less traffic.

  28. _Jim says:

    FerdinandAkin says September 28, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    FOUR OH FIVE (the movie)

    FerdinandAkin, I almost feel I have been rick-rolled after watching that ‘trailer’ and I went looking for the full-length ‘movie’ … cute vid. I understand the two creators produced that on Pentium II and Pentium III machines back in 2000 all for under 300 bucks, which included the cost of a $140 ticket issued by the CHP (California Highway Patrol) …

    .

  29. dp says:

    I think they’re telling us what we all knew – a viable growing society, one that does not live and work at home or in a cave, comes with a price. Can you imagine how screwed up LA would be if the 405 were dug up? Can you imagine how screwed up LA would be if the 405 had never been constructed?

    This is one of those revelations that goes along the lines of if everyone on the west coast dropped dead tomorrow the weather in the states to the east would be greatly improved. It is a waste of grant money. I’d like to think that no child died because needed money was wasted on these people.

  30. Gunga Din says:

    FerdinandAkin says:
    September 28, 2012 at 4:56 pm
    FOUR OH FIVE (the movie)
    ========================================================
    That video reminded me of this one. Nothing to do with LA but it does have a car in it. It’s a real commercial that aired in Europe.

  31. theduke says:

    michaeljmcfadden @ 6:20 pm wrote: “The only way in which the finding would be notable would be if we’d had no idea why urban hubs congested with auto traffic had higher PM 2.5 counts than rural farmland.*OF COURSE* the reading goes down when you remove the source.”

    Precisely. More advocacy science. They like the idea of the activist imposition of inconvenience on ALL motorists in L.A. so they provide the statistics to tell you why it was worthwhile in their view. God forbid that they would mention anyone who was adversely effected by the freeway closure, like the people who might have died because they couldn’t be transported to a hospital in time after suffering a life-threatening medical emergency. They weren’t out there looking for that kind of data.

    Advocacy science. Confirmation bias. Get used to it. LIfe in a post-normal age. It can kill you, reduce your standard of living and/or deprive you of your livelihood, but it’s necessary because consensus science says so.

    Yours for a better tomorrow,

    theduke

  32. A couple of things.

    1. Particulates from vehicle traffic don’t all come out of the tailpipe.
    2. Electric cars need to be charged. Without nuclear power (lots of them!), there is no emissions-free, practical way of charging the batteries of the number of cars in a metropolis.
    3. China should ship the emissions from the factories making batteries for electric cars to LA.

  33. 0U812 says:

    What a Minute!

    Your forgot the … TIRES!

    8D

  34. Sleepalot says:

    When the 405 was closed, how much food was transported along it?

  35. Dave Dodd says:

    “There is no safe level… …so any reduction is an improvement,” Zhu said.

    Isn’t that an oxymoron?

  36. MarkG says:

    “Hello new environmental weenie cash cow.”

    Nothing new about it. The enviro-weenies have been pushing Evil Particulate Theory in the UK since at least the 90s. The usual argument is to refer to a government study claiming that over 20,000 Britons die every year due to transport particulates, when if you actually read it you find that it says something like 10,000 very sick people probably die up to two weeks early due to particulates from diesel vehicles, and somewhere between zero and 10,000 die up to two weeks early from emissions from gasoline vehicles.

    Also, if I remember correctly, the most dangerous particulate transport pollution in London is on the electric underground trains, where one study estimated a typical commute to be equivalent to smoking a couple of cigarettes a day.

  37. pkatt says:

    “If it turns out there’s very little traffic on the freeways,” she said, “everyone should go out and experience what clean air can be like.”

    KK I will hop in my car and come see ;)

  38. Eric H. says:

    Smells like Spotted Owl.

  39. Red Seewun says:

    if everyone who wasn’t born here would just go home, or at least go away, the air quality would improve tremendously. i can only imagine living with New York or Philly or Chicago counts of 0 people per population… Welcome to Los Angeles. Now, Go home.

    heaven on earth again.

  40. ferdberple says:

    UnfrozenCavemanMD says:
    September 28, 2012 at 6:40 pm
    Even zero-emission vehicles lift and mobilize fine particulate materials on and near the road surface by their passage. Prof. Paulson is absolutely mistaken if she thinks that the road closure approximates the effect of replacing a normal volume of traffic with zero-emmission vehicles.
    ====================
    Indy banned the ground effect cars too soon. Fit every car with a skirt and a big cyclone style vacuum that never looses suction. Drive around and clean the air as you go. The more cars on the road, the cleaner the air.

  41. Mike Jonas says:

    Gunga Din – re the “VW commercial” video that you posted (Muslim culture meets German engineering):
    http://www.snopes.com/photos/advertisements/vwpolo.asp
    – Claim : Commercial produced by Volkswagen employs suicide bomber imagery.
    – False.
    It was a self-promotion by a team called Lee and Dan.
    Neat, though.

  42. mizimi says:

    “Zhu and Paulson found that when traffic dropped more than 90 percent on the closed 405, with only construction vehicles still on the move, ultrafine particles dropped by 83 percent. PM2.5 concentrations dropped 36 percent.”
    So construction vehicles equal 10% of the normal traffic and produce only 17% of ultrafine particles but 64% of PM2.5 particles.
    So by banning heavy diesels you get a bigger reduction than banning ordinary cars……..
    Who’d have thought it…….

  43. J Martin says:

    Kent Beuchert said “practical batteries look to be not far off”

    Kent, how about a link for that ?

  44. The unsafe PM2.5 particles limit is not based on any research. I am sure we all breath these sized bits with every breath. Some of these will be spores from yeasts, bacteria, fungus etc. Some will be highly toxic but the body deals with them. The claim by the EPA was brought in to try to limit vehicle exhaust which it thought was dangerous, and part of its anti car/CO2 mandate. Now to experiment on humans using what their own rules state is dangerous is their problem. I hope they get hit hard for doing it.
    As a matter of interest I did an experiment to try to find the concentration of spores in the home environment. The answer was 20,000 spores per cubic metre. Seemed a lot but tied in with other measurements. I do not feel bad breathing in this muck because evolution has given me, and the rest of us, the ability to cure any small problem these bits cause.

  45. DirkH says:

    Kent Beuchert says:
    September 28, 2012 at 5:22 pm
    “But I think the issue is moot – practical batteries look to be not far off. A cheap, fast recharging battery will quickly make ICE powered vehicles obsolete, and it won’t have much to do with emissions.”

    You’re probably dreaming of those mythical ultrafast recharging nanotube-something Lithium batteries that get announced every other year. I call them mythical because I have never seen one and even the model airplane enthusiasts I know still use LiPo, and they always go for the latest experimental stuff they can get.

    ” They’re simply more cost effective, given a cheap battery.”

    “Practical” and “cheap” are not the same. One of those enthusiasts I know has just bought himself a barely used Tazzari, a small E car with Li Ion battery; when you buy it new, think 10,000 EUR for the car and 10,000 EUR for the 500 kg battery, that’s about the price level now. Now assume it’s designed for 100,000 km lifetime, then you end up with 1000 charge cycles at 100 km drive between two charges; that’s a battery cost of 10 EUR per charge cycle or per 100km, not counting the cost of the electricity.

    That’s not cheap. And if your mythical “practical” battery ever pops into existence, I very much expect it to be MORE expensive, at least during the first decade after market introduction – because, why would you sell it cheaper when its better? Mass-produced nanotubes in volume quantities with a guaranteed quality don’t sound cheap to me.

    “Everybody and his brother is trying to invent a better battery these days.”

    I don’t. I’d much rather bank on induction charging on the go. It’s an entirely stupid idea to NOT use the major advantage of electricity – that we can move it around with near light speed and little losses. Whoever designed battery cars has not made a proper requirement analysis.

  46. Matthew W says:

    FerdinandAkin says:
    September 28, 2012 at 4:56 pm
    FOUR OH FIVE (the movie)
    ============================
    Funny !!!!

    The 83% improvement………………

    Maybe that just means that the current levels aren’t that bad.

  47. Matthew W says:

    J Martin says:
    September 29, 2012 at 2:52 am
    Kent Beuchert said “practical batteries look to be not far off”

    Kent, how about a link for that ?
    ========================================
    Sure just google “Unicorns and Leprachans that give away gold bars”
    WIll be on the same page

  48. Alan Watt, CD (Certified Denialist), Level 7 says:

    Kent Beuchert says:
    September 28, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    … But I think the issue is moot – practical batteries look to be not far off. A cheap, fast recharging battery will quickly make ICE powered vehicles obsolete, and it won’t have much to do with emissions.

    Please share. I’m not aware of any breakthrough battery on the horizon, which is what I presume you mean by “not far off”. Battery technology is probbly the critical limiting factor in wider use of all electric vehicles. It also amplifies the inherent weaknesses of intermittent power sources like wind and solar. If there was something coming reasonably soon which we could reasonably expect to be a major advance on current technology, I’d like to think I would be aware of it.

  49. Gunga Din says:

    Mike Jonas says:
    September 29, 2012 at 2:10 am
    Gunga Din – re the “VW commercial” video that you posted (Muslim culture meets German engineering):
    http://www.snopes.com/photos/advertisements/vwpolo.asp
    – Claim : Commercial produced by Volkswagen employs suicide bomber imagery.
    – False.
    It was a self-promotion by a team called Lee and Dan.
    Neat, though.
    ===============================================================
    Thanks for the info and the correction. It’s still a clever clip.

  50. cdquarles says:

    The only way to get a ‘better battery’ would be for you to create, from QM first principles, a better material to make them. For ordinary crustal elements, Lithium is the highest energy density material. That has been known for 100 years. Batteries are limited by the oxidation-reduction reactions that power them and the electrolytes needed to carry the charges. When I was at the University nearly 40 years ago, we were all talking about the same kinds of ‘alternative energy’ things we are talking about now. (The last major new petroleum refinery was being built at the time, little did we know; nor did we really know that the politicians were going to deny us access to the trillions of barrels of oil/gas by political fiat subsequently) Liquid hydrocarbons were then, are now, and will be for the foreseeable future the most economical form of energy for transportation purposes. 100 years ago, by the way, electric cars outsold hydrocarbon fueled internal combustion powered cars. In ten more years, the roles were reversed.

  51. mbur says:

    How about this…Check out the forest of Los Angeles…in that picture of UCLA…WUWT?
    Thanks for all the interesting articles and comments

  52. Europeanonion says:

    Always less cars and never better roads. We know where all the hold-ups are but, in a drive to seemingly point up the evils of travel in private vehicles, authorities allow such daily mayhem to continue. There is a sense of hopelessness about it all that reflects in the constant attribution of events to global warming, as if having said that inaction is acceptable. On the one, hand here in Britain, the Met Office representative can suggest that Jet Stream perambulations are a bit of mystery or when their general sentiments challenged another representative can offer a wholly understood phenomenon. When the low pressures do not compress the Arctic weather in Britain’s summer (track over Liverpool rather than Iceland) there is a far vaster area for Arctic cold to seep into it and by so doing actually heighten the temperature. I can say such things because, like so many, I have no idea how the Jet Stream actually operates and my theory seems to be as valid as any other. Britain has had a miserable, cold summer (two in a row), crop failures, disrupted holidays, personal depression. How many events will we have to suffer before we come to an understanding that warm is actually good, lifts the spirits, is more amenable to growing food, cuts down on the use of fossil fuels. It is Global Cooling that is the enemy.

  53. mib8 says:

    “The ownership [of cars] is discouraged in totalitarian societies. A mobile population is a population essentially out of control of centralized government.” — Brock Yates (quoted in Reason magazine)

    “[The automobile is a] suit of armor with 200 horses inside, big enough to make love in. Once having tasted the delights of a society in which almost everyone can be a knight, it is hard to go back to being a peasant.” — Kenneth Boulding _The Green Life-style Handbook_ (quoted in Reason magazine)

    “[The] trouble is we don’t have the political mechanisms to impose pain on citizens in a democratic society.” — Michael Walsh, World Watch Institute (quoted in Reason magazine)

  54. Dan in California says:

    mib8 says: September 30, 2012 at 10:54 am
    “[The] trouble is we don’t have the political mechanisms to impose pain on citizens in a democratic society.” — Michael Walsh, World Watch Institute (quoted in Reason magazine)
    ——————————————————————————————-
    Of course they have mechanisms to impose pain. Make energy expensive, raise taxes, and ruin the economy with government debt. Which is exactly what they’re doing.

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