Air Pollution

Oxygenated Fuels Help Reduce Carbon Monoxide Gao ID: RCED-91-176 August 13, 1991

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed: (1) the extent to which the use of oxygenated fuels in motor vehicles has reduced carbon monoxide (CO) levels in six cities; and (2) other measures those cities have taken to meet national CO standards.

GAO found that: (1) city officials reported that using oxygenated fuels during winter months reduced CO emissions by an estimated 10 to 20 percent; (2) the oxygenated fuels' economic attractiveness and convenience enhanced their widespread acceptance and use; (3) since state and local officials believed that no single CO reduction strategy would guarantee that cities met and maintained the national air quality standard for CO, cities used a variety of CO reduction measures and implemented programs to help prevent excessive CO levels in the future; (4) all six cities required vehicle inspection, maintenance, and emission testing programs; (5) two cities introduced programs to reduce the number of single-occupant trips and vehicle miles travelled, and required employers to assess employee commuting habits and encourage employees to use alternate forms of transportation; (6) in addition to lowering current CO levels, one city enacted an ordinance requiring developers to report any effects their projects could have on the city's air quality and to incorporate pollution reduction measures into those projects; and (7) one city plans to reduce vehicle miles travelled by locating essential services and facilities within residential areas and placing commercial centers on public transit lines.


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