How Emissions Standards Have Changed the Automotive Industry

Written by Chloe Harwood

The policies surrounding car and truck emissions are always changing. These new policies are intended to control pollution and the release of greenhouse gases by regulating the exhaust systems for cars and trucks, but they affect the economy and automotive industry as well.

The History of Emissions Standards

Before the 1960s, there were few or no emissions standards. Beginning in 1965 in California, restrictions were placed on the emissions that a car could release into the air because vehicles were identified as one of the biggest contributors to pollution. These policies spread through the entire United States and eventually the whole world. Then, in 1970, the Clean Air Act was passed, which placed strict restrictions on emissions and would be updated and amended over the years. This resulted in the best exhaust systems that are standard on nearly every vehicle today. This was most likely a strictly good thing, as vehicle exhaust systems were standardized and carmakers were forced to comply with standards that not only helped the environment, but ensured everyone had clean air to breath.

Modern Emissions Standards

So what is the current state of emissions standards, and what does it mean for the automotive industry? Emissions have very much remained a political issue, so the standards fluctuate with the changing of the policy makers and president. President Obama raised emissions standards and President Trump lowered them again. Some speculate that if the standards become too low, all competition will be removed between carmakers, which may hurt the progress of technology. The difference between standards in the US and the rest of the world may also hurt US-made cars in the global market. Regardless, as better exhaust systems are created and made standard in new cars, you can always install the newest and most effective parts in your older vehicle to keep them legal, clean, and fun to drive.

About the author

Chloe Harwood