Every day, Californians drive an average of 800 million miles. This massive daily migration produces tons of pollution that contributes to:
Climate change: Passenger vehicles account for more than ¼ of California’s global warming pollution.
Smog: It’s more than an ugly layer of brown on the horizon; it’s harmful to our health.
Cancer: Motor vehicles and other mobile sources account for 90% of the cancer risk associated with air pollution.
Facts about California’s vehicles:
Registered cars and trucks: 24 million
Miles driven every day: 825 million
Daily miles driven by the average driver: 36
Gallons of fuel burned every day: 47 million
Pounds of pollutants created daily: 5.4 million
Ports and Freight Transport
More than 40% of products entering the United States come through California. The ships, trucks, trains and cargo equipment that move these goods rely largely on diesel fuels, emitting a complex cocktail of air pollutants that contribute to smog and climate change. In fact, ports and freight transport account for about 10% of California’s global warming emissions.
This pollution also seriously harms the health of Californians, causing asthma, cancer, heart attacks and strokes. California estimates that diesel pollution from ports and freight transport leads to:
2,830 additional hospital admissions
360,000 sick days for workers
1.1 million missed school days for children
3,700 premature deaths every year
The resulting health costs for Californians will add up to $200 billion over the next 15 years.
The San Joaquin Valley is home to seven of the nation’s top 10 agriculture-producing counties. Unfortunately, due to the resulting pollution, it is also home to some of the worst air quality in the nation. Four Valley areas—Bakersfield, Visalia-Porterville, Fresno-Madera and Hanford-Corcoran—are continuously listed among the top 10 most air-polluted American cities.
Combined agricultural operations represent a significant portion of the Valley’s smog, particulate and climate change emissions. These sources include diesel- and gas-fueled tractors, irrigation pumps, pesticide chemical spraying, and large confined animal facilities. Smog-forming emissions from dairy cows surpass that of cars! Until recently, these operations were exempt from doing their fair share to reduce pollution.
Breathing bad air in the Valley costs each resident an average of $1,600 annually in health-related costs, and it translates to an estimated $6.2 billion price tag for the region. Associated annual costs include: