Reality Check

FIGHTING AIR POLLUTION by sidelining old automobiles is a much-ballyhooed new environmental strategy among city and state governments. California, for example, has a program to give companies leeway on their factory emissions if they buy--and crunch--people's clunkers. On the surface, the reasoning seems sound. Since tailpipe standards have gotten tougher over the past decade, older cars spew out more ozone-creating chemicals and carbon monoxide than new autos.

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