Energy: Detroit's Most Difficult Deadline

The energy crisis is not the only problem perplexing Detroit. Auto executives have been at least as worried about a pollution deadline: by late 1975, say the Clean Air Amendments of 1970, all cars must be virtually pollution free.

In an effort to comply, GM has spent $1 billion so far on pollution control, and Ford has put 6,500 people to work on the project. But all the money and brainpower have not completely succeeded.

Under the law, emissions of two noxious gases in auto exhaust—carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons—must be cut by 90% of 1970 levels in 1976-model cars. Techniques to do that,...

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