California Cruisers Take to the Streets in Protest

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Classic car enthusiasts spent Monday morning in downtown Bakersfield protesting a proposed smog bill outside the office of state Sen. Dean Florez.

The bill, SB 1549, introduced by state Sen. Dean Florez, would require smog testing on all new registrations for cars built before 1976. It would only affect the Central Valley.

The problem, classic car enthusiasts said, is that cars built before 1963 never came with smog equipment. They said it would be expensive to make such cars meet state smog standards.

Such car lovers are afraid their hobby of refurbishing old cars may become a thing of the past if the bill is approved.

Florez fired back and said the classic cars that drive fewer than 15,000 miles a year are already exempt from smog inspection.

He said his bill targets old cars that are not classics — making them adhere to smog standards from the year the car was manufactured.

Florez said more than 60,000 people die from lung-related illnesses in the Central Valley every year due to poor air quality.

That’s more than triple the amount of people killed in car crashes.

The bill is scheduled to be considered by the California Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on April 1. If passed, the bill would only take effect within the boundaries of the San Joaquin air district.

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