D.C. Region's Vehicles Older, Dirtier | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

D.C. Region's Vehicles Older, Dirtier

Play associated audio
The average age of cars in the D.C. region is getting older, and older cars means more exhaust.
William Grootonk: http://www.flickr.com/photos/catatronic/2354082534/
The average age of cars in the D.C. region is getting older, and older cars means more exhaust.

There are nearly 4 million vehicles registered in the D.C. metro region, up 4 percent since 2008. For years, the addition of more cars hasn't dramatically affected emissions, because newer, cleaner cars were hitting the roads. With the tough economy tightening budgets, that trend may well be over.

"When the recession hit we started seeing people defer the purchase of new cars, the average age of the fleet now is older than it was 3 years ago," says Ron Kirby, head of Transportation Planning for the region.

The fleet is about a year older, on average, which means a lot of people are still using older cars and SUVs with dirtier exhaust than newer vehicles

"That means air quality isn't as good as it would've been," says Kirby.

Another way of thinking about it is that air quality isn't getting better as fast as it used to. That's important, because the region doesn't meet certain federal air quality standards. The recession also hit the purchase of hybrids hard, but they've since come back faster than at any other time in history.

And while SUV's have been falling in popularity in the region for some time, they took a big hit during the recession, probably, Kirby says, due to the Cash for Clunkers program.

NPR

Centenarian Poet Was A Fearless Guide To 'The Country Of Old Age'

Poet and author Margaret Howe Freydburg died last week at 107; she wrote and published well past her 100th birthday. Her friend Nancy Slonim Aronie has an appreciation of a remarkable woman.
NPR

Margaret Hamburg Ends Six-Year Run As FDA Commissioner

Margaret Hamburg ended her run this week as one of the longest serving Food and Drug Administration commissioners in recent decades.
NPR

Sen. Robert Menendez Indicted On Corruption Charges

Sen. Menendez of New Jersey has been indicted on corruption charges. These are the first criminal charges brought against a sitting U.S. Senator in seven years.
NPR

Still Need A Lawn Yeti? Good News — SkyMall May Be Cleared For Relaunch

The in-flight catalog went bankrupt earlier this year. But its new owners say SkyMall catalogs might make their way back to airplane seatbacks soon.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.