This book represents an economist's approach to the problem of auto pollution controls. In considering possible strategies for pollution abatement, it examines such factors as the benefits of pollution abatement, the costs of implementing a system of pollution abatement, the question of fuel consumption and fuel composition, the demand for motoring, and the cost and effectiveness of technical alternatives such as abatement devices and unconventional propulsion systems.
The author proposes that “A sensible pollution control strategy must consist of programs at the national, state, and regional level, designed to match the costs of abatement to anticipated benefits for each area. The national program should produce new cars which reduce emissions to a degree needed by the majority of the country.... State and regional programs can be designed to deal effectively with the particular problems and conditions in each area.”
Dr. Dewees concludes that “the speed of technological progress and the cost of the programs favor the effluent charge approach.” Certain minimum emission standards for all automobiles would exist under this approach, which would include state and regional pollution charges levied annually in high-benefit areas, a tax on fuel based on its composition, and regional and local motoring reduction programs.
The author brings to the difficult policy problem of auto pollution control a detailed economic analysis combined with an understanding of the technical and legal problems that must inevitably be faced if a satisfactory resolution of the problem is to be found.