Dale Amy
October 7, 2010

Why does it matter? The fact is gasoline without ethanol may eventually become scarce or non-existent when you pull up to the pump. We also face an education curve, as many people who already ignore the "contains 10 percent ethanol" sign will not understand that 15 percent may cost them a pretty penny in repair bills.

Paint-A Quick Guide To Paint Regulations
Believe it or not, paint is now heavily regulated to address various environmental concerns. There are two main issues with respect to regulatory oversight; those being volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs).

VOCs include both man-made and naturally occurring chemical compounds that are released into the atmosphere as a gas. They are found in oil-based paints, adhesives, and cleaning supplies, and may trigger respiratory irritation, headaches, or other health con-cerns. VOCs also react with nitrogen oxides and sunlight to form smog. Both federal and state regulators have imposed limits on VOC emissions, primarily at the manufacturer level. A number of products, from paint to engine degreasers and windshield washer fluids, have been reformulated to reduce their VOC levels. Additionally, there has been an effort to switch the public from oil-based paints and cleaning solvents (enamel, lacquer, mineral spirits, and more) to water-based paints like latex. The paint industry has expanded the range of water-based finishes that are available to assist in the conversion. Sometimes it's not a voluntary switch. A number of states or urban areas have banned retail sales of certain oil-based products in an effort to combat smog.

Aerosol can spray paints are frequently used for smaller jobs and touch-up painting. They rely on VOC-emitting propellants-gases used to expand and force out the paint when the valve is opened. The propellants have changed over the years, and the paint industry has more recently relied on a variety of hydrofluorocarbons to serve as propellants. To address VOCs in aerosol paints, both the EPA and the state of California have limited the amount of propellants that can be used in spray paint.

HAPs pose a separate concern. They are hazardous metal compounds-cadmium, chromium, nickel, and so on-that become airborne during paint stripping operations or surface coating and autobody refinishing operations. The EPA now regulates most activities except low-volume operations such as when hobbyists restore or customize one or two personal vehicles (or the equivalent in pieces) per year. The HAP rule does not apply to painting done with an airbrush or hand-held, non-refillable aerosol cans.

Regulating paint has been a balancing act: making sure hobbyists and commercial entities have access to affordable, quality paints while protecting health and environment. A good source for additional information is: www.ccar-greenlink.org/paintrule.html

Exhaust Noise-How Loud Is Too Loud?
On this topic, states can generally be divided into two major categories: states with noise standards and states without noise standards. States with poorly drafted and/or ineffective state laws and regulations frequently cite the manufacturer's specifications or a factory installed muffler as the basis on which vehicle exhaust noise is measured.

Of the states with a test standard on the books, many ignore guidelines when handing out citations. Most states that have set specifications choose to measure a vehicle's noise by decibels. States that have quantifiable noise standards on the books are shaded red in the map shown on the bottom left. These standards often go unenforced because they are based on an in-use standard-exhaust noise is measured while a vehicle is in motion on the highway.