California Standards

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California is pleased that President Obama has so quickly placed the nation on the same standard footing as the once great state of California with respect to emission standards. This notion was tried with President Bush in the previous administration, who vetoed the idea.

I have some personal experience with the impact of California’s impediments to life on earth. In 1991 I moved to California for work reasons. I like to drive so I took my 1987 Oldsmobile Delta 88 which had already accumulated over 100,000 miles on the odometer. As I said, I like to drive. The car was built in Canada and did not conform with the California emission standards of 1991, but I could get the vehicle retrofitted to make it comply. The estimate, which included frame modifications (go figure that out) amounted to $5,000. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot of money today, particularly if you are one of the elite politicians in Washington or a State Governor. For me though, it represented about 25 percent of the car’s original new cost. And don’t forget, it had aged 4 years and had over 100,000 miles on it.

I had to give up that car. The dealers in California couldn’t give me anything much for it since they couldn’t sell it. Remember, this was a car I was perfectly happy to keep and I expected to get another 100,000 miles out of it. Alas, I drove it 2,000 miles (did I mention I like driving?) to the car lot of a business contact in Alberta, where I collected about one-half of what it would have cost to have it retrofitted in California. I bought a California car I could afford, which eventually required a motor replacement and had the ride of a hay wagon. I did drive it across the continent to Connecticut, where it ultimately had an encounter at 45 mph with a deer leaping in front of it from the roadside. Both deer and car were a write-off and I hated them both, just like I hate California.

Copyright 2009 Edward Podritske

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