81. Why the Sky Is Brown

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Every two years, DMV sent Cory a notice to get a pollution check to make sure his Cadillac wasn't fouling the California sky. Cory thought that DMV was fighting a losing battle, considering that there were 30 million cars and 10 million cows in California, not to mention the air pollution drifting into California from across the Pacific.

After driving on the 210 freeway for 20 minutes to warm the engine up, Cory drove to the test-only center on Colorado Blvd. Sam, the owner, offered Cory a bottle of purified water. Sam pulled the car up to the test machine and stuck the machine's sensor up the car's tail pipe. This isn't good, Cory thought. Sam showed Cory the printout: "Your vehicle is a gross polluter!"

"What does that mean?" Cory asked. It meant that Cory had to take his car to a mechanic to find out why the car was running so rich. It was using gasoline inefficiently. Maybe that's why I'm getting only 8 miles per gallon, Cory thought. Sam said that once the problem was fixed, bring the car back for a second test, which would be free.

Cory took his car to Moe, his regular mechanic. Moe said he couldn't help Cory, but his friend Ramsey specialized in emission problems. He gave Cory Ramsey's business card. "Tell him that I recommended you," Moe said.

Ramsey said to bring the car by 8:00 a.m. Monday through Friday--"first come, first served." Cory got there at 7:40 a.m. Monday. There were three cars already parked there, but Cory was relieved to discover that they were the mechanics' cars. He was the first customer. Ramsey introduced himself, saying, "Coffee will be ready in a few minutes. I'll show you the waiting room." He was a friendly, courteous man. Cory felt comfortable. Moe had sent him to a good place.


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