Schwarzenegger to Kill Machines, Again — This Time, the Polluting Kind

California officials seeking to ameliorate the state’s persistent smog problems are focusing on a common group of culprits: old machines. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is meeting with business groups, enviros, and legislators to develop a plan to rid the state’s roads of old cars, trucks, and buses by offering their owners financial incentives to trade them in. Five percent of California’s vehicles — primarily older models — cause half the state’s vehicle-related air pollution. No means of funding the proposal has been agreed upon yet, but ideas range from a gas tax to increasing vehicle licensing fees. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, the South Coast Air Quality Management District announced a program to offer owners of old, gas-powered lawnmowers who trade them in to be scrapped $300 toward the purchase of an electric mower. According to the agency, a typical gas-powered mower pollutes as much in a year as 43 new cars driven 12,000 miles apiece. Finally, it seems, California’s obsession with youth is doing some good.