Phoenix Area Vehicle Pollution Increased 291% Since 1990

Published: Friday, November 1, 2019 - 1:19pm
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Paul Atkinson/KJZZ
Phoenix, Arizona.

The metro Phoenix area has experienced the highest increase in vehicle pollution of any large city in America since 1990.

The Boston University Database of Road Transportation Emissions found vehicle exhaust has skyrocketed 291% from 1990 to 2017. 

When calculated on a per-person basis, researchers found an 86% increase since 1990 — also the highest for any major city. By comparison, San Diego saw its vehicle emissions increase by 39% overall and only 5% per person.

Suburban driving — particularly commuting — is blamed for the huge increase. For Phoenix, vehicle exhaust is the largest source of ozone, a type of air pollution that can be dangerous, especially for those with breathing problems.

The Show talked with Sybil Francis, president and CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona.

In a recent Arizona Republic op-ed Francis wrote, “We need to put the foot on the accelerator and get into high gear with solutions before it’s too late.” 

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