Many areas of the world are in various stages of development which frequently includes a rapid increase in the motor vehicle population. As a result, some areas are beginning to show the effect of increased motor vehicle use on air pollution. The vehicle's contribution to California's air pollution has long been recognized and studied, and measures have been implemented to reduce emissions from motor vehicles. The history of light duty vehicle emission control in the South Coast Air Basin of California is reviewed. Emission reductions achieved, current levels, projected future emissions and the need for further emissions reductions from light duty vehicles are discussed. For other areas of the world where motor vehicles contribute to air pollution, suggestions are made which can improve the effectiveness of emission control efforts; which should be consistent with political and economic realities, and efforts to achieve international harmonization of standards.