In Oregon, a senseless and not clearly thought out piece of bad legislation proposed by Governor Ted Kulongoski could give the state's top environment agency new broad and sweeping powers to ban the sale of some custom and high performance auto, truck and motorbike parts based on some absurd and naive notion that such parts somehow contribute to more air pollution. However, the truth is that many aftermarket high performance parts actually work far more efficiently than the cheaper OEM equipment installed on many vehicles, and in many cases actually save fuel while providing increased performance characteristics.
Many cash strapped automobile manufacturers purchase parts based on the lowest cost from suppliers. Because of this most new cars and trucks do have the best handling tires or the most fuel efficient engine parts. And only a few higher priced vehicles come standard with synthetic oil, which provides far better horsepower, performance and miles per gallon than the far cheaper normal petroleum oil does. Some synthetic oils such as AMSOIL may provide up to 10% better mpg than normal oil, besides higher horsepower and an engine life twice as long if not even longer. But the auto industry is in the business of selling vehicles, so selling cars with cheaper oils that allow them to wear out twice as fast is only good for their business.
Recently when President Barack Obama proposed allowing 13 U.S. states with some high air pollution areas to allow them to set tougher local air pollution rules, some states like California and Oregon were quick to react with some new pollution control proposals. However in Oregon, S. 2186, is little more than a hysterical and oversimplified dangerous bill that gives broad new powers to air pollution czars who really know nothing about the mechanics of cars, trucks or motorbikes. The bill claims to be some sort of an "emergency" declaration. So where's the "emergency"? And what serious person actually believes that the small number of car, truck or motorbike enthusiasts who put some custom aftermarket or high performance parts on their cars, trucks or motorbikes actually increase air pollution levels?
The fact of the matter is that there are many high priced custom wheels made from lightweight alloy materials that are far lighter than the cheap heavy steel OEM wheels. And some low profile performance tires are far more grippy and squirm around far less than the cheap OEM ones that manufacturers install to control their operating costs. You can spend a few thousand dollars on a set of high performance wheels and tires that are far superior to the cheap ones on a car or truck that barely top $200 to $300 in most cases. Any person with good sense knows that lighter weight will save fuel. Yet the Oregon bill could actually outlaw the sale of many aftermarket tires and wheels and force buyers to purchase more of the same cheap fuel wasting crap that dealers for many automanufacturers sell. What Einstein thought this one up?
Any any good motorhead knows that many aftermarket quality four barrel carbs can potentially offer better gas mileage than the cheaper OEM two barrel ones installed on many older cars. The four barrel versions generally have smaller throats, where only the other two throats open up during hard acceleration or at freeway type speeds, while the two barrel carbs have bigger throats that constantly open during any acceleration and waste gas. In most cases, many four barrel carbs are far superior at saving gas and reducing pollution than the cheap OEM carbs are.
Automobile manufacturers are working to improve the pollution problem with their vehicles. Toyota sells a great number of hybrid vehicles. And Detroit continues to conduct experiments with extreme hybrids, electric and fuel cell cars. This is where pollution problem will really be solved.
But the more serious problems of greenhouse gases and global warming certainly cannot all be blamed on the United States. Nations like India, China and Vietnam have many dangerously polluted cities with little air quality rules or regulations. In fact, the air quality is so bad in at least 500 big cities in China that it is the same health risk as if a child was smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Many of these cities the air is black, the water polluted, and your throat and eyes burn. China has several times the population of the United States, and now has far more industry producing goods than the United States. The effect of China on global warming and green house gas emissions is very serious compared to the United States with many air pollution controls on both vehicles and industry. And so far not a single brand of Chinese manufactured automobiles meets American air pollution standards, only a few of their exported motorcycles or scooters do.
Certainly, states like Oregon might want to improve the air quality. And that's a worthy goal. However, a reckless ban on a few high performance auto, truck or motorbike parts is hardly going to improve the air quality, cut greenhouse gases or reduce holes in the ozone or other goals. These are larger problems that new automobile technology like fuel cell powered cars or nation's like China with huge pollution problems need to really resolve. A few aftermarket auto parts businesses shouldn't be made scapegoat for problems far larger that are far out of their control.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!