EPA Boondoggle

October 28, 2010 at 12:25 am • Posted in ALL POSTS265 Comments

In 1974, the EPA started to micromanage the automobile industry to reduce air pollution from automobile exhausts. One of their goals was to remove the lead additives from gasoline because they claimed that lead was causing brain damage to children. It was later proved that removing that lead source had absolutely no impact on children. Another was to reduce carbon monoxide levels and hydrocarbon emissions.
First, they required manufacturers to retard cam timing on all their cars by six degrees. They required rear differential ratios to be changed to make engines to run at reduced RPMs (Rotation Per Minute). They also required new cars to use unleaded gasoline and have catalytic converters installed in the exhaust systems. One other rather strange change was to recirculate exhaust gasses from the number 3 cylinder back into the engine.
The first problem that these changes caused was a notable reduction in fuel mileage. A 25% decrease in fuel economy could be expected in new cars when compared to older models with similar weight, engine size, and aerodynamic qualities. A second problem was a negative impact in performance observed in new cars. For decades, everyone who knew anything about engines, knew that for engines to run at peak efficiency, they must have balanced engine parts and balanced intake and exhaust flows. Fuel mixtures must be identical for EACH cylinder to maintain peak efficiency. The exhaust gas recirculation requirement compromised that efficiency. A third problem was the catalytic converter itself. It requires a power robbing air pump to force air into the exhaust system ahead of the catalytic converter which increases the gas volume that has to be forced through the catalytic converter matrix. Because the catalytic converter was (and still is) so expensive, dual exhaust was not longer an option.
When EPA came out with the catalytic converter requirement, the public was promised that the platinum, palladium, and rhodium catalysts would not eroded from the ceramic matrix and spread throughout the environment. People who recycle converters have informed me that some converters have virtually no catalysts left in the converters when they receive them for recycling. What these extremely powerful catalysts will do in the environment is only anyone’s guess.
Catalysts cause chemical reactions to occur under less stringent conditions than would normally be needed in the absence of the catalysts. One must wonder what mutations good or bad might be produced by the distribution of micro quantities of these catalysts throughout the environment. One previously unencountered gas emission from automobile exhausts is hydrogen sulfide which is 10 times more toxic than hydrogen cyanide (Hydrogen cyanide is in my opinion a particularly pleasant smelling gas as opposed to the aroma of hydrogen sulfide.). I personally get instant headaches when in the presence of exhaust from a car with a catalytic converter. I have wondered if these new emissions from cars may have something with the sharp rise in asthma cases in the U.S. in the last thirty years. I also heard on the news that the salmon runs in the Snake River system was at a thirty high the same year that the price of gas went above $4.00 per gallon and few Americans could afford to drive. These observations might be a coincidences OR they might be a valid correlations. It scares me to think how these catalysts might impact bacterium, viruses, and plants which come in contact with them.
I do blame EPA’s tinkering with the engineering of the American automobile and the fuels that powers them for the needless waste of trillions of barrels of gasoline over the last three and one half decades. Now they want to regulate carbon dioxide, despite the fact that their meddling was instrumental in creating excessive amounts of it.

Using my personal experience as an example, my 69 Plymouth Fury four door hardtop (boat) easily got four to five miles better gas mileage than my lighter newer smaller Plymouth Valiant with the identical engine with some of EPA’s mandatory modifications. My wife’s V-8 powered 65 Barracuda (sporty Valiant) averaged 23 miles per gallon driving back and forth on the secondary roads. It also had an abundance of power and REAL steel bumpers unlike the new tin-foil and plastic cars with their styrofoam bumpers (Yes, it’s the same material your disposable coffee cups are made of with a plastic cover.)