SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The American Lung Association ranks Sacramento as having the fifth-worst air quality in the nation, but new testing reveals that ranking may soon begin to fall, meaning possible big savings for the state.

From the outside, the Toyota Rav4 doesn’t look like much, but inside is $300,000 worth of pollution testing equipment.

“All that instrumentation, what it does, it sucks air in from the outside as the car is driving along and it analyzed that air, and tells us what’s in the air,” said Michael Benjamin with the California Air Resources Board.

Those readouts are revealing better air quality, something Benjamin attributes to tougher fuel and emission standards.

“Air quality is getting much better along the freeways and a lot of it is because of our regulations,” he said.

The American Lung Association and the Environment Defense Fund back that claim in a new report. The researchers even estimate big savings in healthcare costs due to California’s Global Warming Solutions Act.

“We found that by 2025, we could avoid $23.1 billion in health and other economic impacts, and that’s because our air is getting cleaner as these policies take effect,” said ALA Policy Manager Will Barrett.

But while there are savings in health care, costs have risen for others. The California Trucking Association claims it’s spending $1 billion a year to come into compliance.

“We need to find a balance between the health effects of the environmental issues and also job loss and how those economic issues cause negative health effects,” said spokesman Chris Shimoda.

The ALA argues that other green sector jobs are flourishing. Many of them are now making cleaner-burning fuels.


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