California is the world's first “auto-civilization.” No form of transportation has had a greater impact on shaping the landscape of the Golden State than the automobile. Starting with the beginning of the 20th century, Southern California embraced a completely new way of life centered around the automobile.
California's car-centric culture led to the development of new suburbs, urban freeways, stores and malls with parking lots, drive-in restaurants, traffic congestion and smog.
Los Angeles was forced to deal with auto pollution in the 1930s, and by the 1940s began to issue smog alerts. The Legislature addressed this rising problem with the Air Pollution Act in 1947 and the Motor Vehicle Pollution Act in 1961.