I didn’t know if it could happen, but it turns out it is possible to get people to voluntarily sit through a panel of speakers from the Bureau of Automotive Repair. All you’ve got to do is couch it in a car show featuring some of the cleanest low riders, bombs, hot rods, imports and Harleys in the South Bay. Then surround that with the one place that you know is poppin’ on a Saturday afternoon—the Berryessa Flea Market.
On July 26, 2008, the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) teamed up with New America Media, an ethnic news association, to put on “Green Street”—an event which is part of BAR’s new campaign “Drive Healthy,” an effort to help clean up the state air by promoting proper vehicle maintenance. According to BAR, 95 percent of all Californians breathe in dangerous levels of smog on a regular basis, and cars are responsible for over 40 percent of air pollution, with 50 percent of all of California’s motor vehicle pollution produced by only 10-15 percent of the total number of cars driven.
While California is headed toward alternative-fuel-burning vehicles, there is the present reality to deal with: Most of us can’t afford the environmental enlightenment of an electric powered Scion. And as gas prices sky-rocket, the price of hybrids are also climbing as comparable rates. So the question of how to get our current rides as environmentally responsible is possible is critical.
Turns out, doing so is also economically efficient as well. The panelists suggested things like changing engine oil and air, oil and fuel filters at manufacturers suggested intervals, checking tire pressures frequently, inspecting hoses, wiring, and belts regularly.
Most of the crowd at Green Street knew these things already. Giving instructions on car maintenance to San Jose car and bike clubs like Bombs Boulevard, Viejitos, Antiguos, and others is like telling the Olympic track team about the importance of stretching. But the value of Green Street was California BAR giving these experts—local car and motorcycle aficionados—the role of messenger. They are who the rest of us lay drivers look to for standards of car culture, which includes how to take care of your vehicle. Plus, they make it look good. And of all the vehicles, the greenest ones out there were also the most affordable—the lowrider/cruiser bikes shown by ShortyFatz. They require no gas, have no monthly car notes, and bring health to the rider as well as the others on the road.