is Ecologically Responsible.
It is well known that cars produce harmful fumes. The pollution control devices that have been standard equipment in cars for years have proven to reduce the emmisions from individul cars, but the benefit is cancelled by the rapid growth in traffic and auto use.
The carbon dioxide that cars emit contributes to global warming. No one knows quite yet how the atmosphere reacts to the greenhouse effect, but it is known that the global climate is prone to "sudden" catastrophic changes. Once triggered, warming might lead to further warming effects.
A recent German Study found that for each car:
- Mineral extraction
- 25,000 kg of waste
- 422 million m3 of polluted air
- Transportation of raw materials
- 425 million m3 of polluted air
- 12 L of crude oil in the oceans
- 1,5000 kg of waste
- 75 million m3 of polluted air
Assuming a three-way catalytic converter and using 10 litres of lead-free gasoline for every 100 km. Over 10
years at 7800 miles per year, each car will produce;
- 44.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide
- 4.8 kg of sulphur dioxide
- 46.8 kg of nitrogen dioxide
- 325 kg of carbon monoxide
- 36 kg of hydrocarbons
- 17,500 grams of road surface abrasion products
- 750 grams of tire abrasion products
- 150 grams of brake abrasion products
Disposal of the vehicle produces a further 102 million m3 of polluted air and quantities of PCBs and hydrocarbons.
In total, over the 10 year lifespan, each car produces;
- 59.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide
- 2,040 million m3cubic metres of polluted air.
- 26.5 tonnes of rubbish
Each car in its lifetime is responsible for
- 3 dead trees and 30 "sick" trees
- 200 sq metres of tarmac and concrete
- 820 hours of life lost through a road traffic accident fatality
- 2,800 hours of life damaged by a road traffic accident
- 1 individual in every 100 will be killed in a road traffic accident
- 2 out of every 3 will be injured
Translated into vehicle numbers, this means:
- Every 450 cars are responsible for one fatality;
- Every 100 cars are responsible for one handicapped person;
- Every 7 cars are responsible for one injured person;
And into production data:
- Every 50 minutes a new car is produced that will kill someone;
- Every 50 seconds a new car is produced that will injure someone.
Germany's cars commandeer 3,700 sq km of land~60% more than is allocated to housing.
The total impact of the car over all the stages of its life cycle is about $5,000 and covers the external costs of all forms of pollution, accidents and noise after income taxation are taken into account.
This is a state subsidy equivalent to giving each car user a free pass for the whole year for all public transport, a new bike every five years and 15,000 km of first class rail travel.
It would be interesting to see the figures calculated for the United States, which is far more auto centric than Germany.
- Auto Alternatives
- Air Pollution Control Resources
- Environmental Defense Fund
- Group Against Smog & Pollution
- Resources for the Future
- Active Living - Go for Green!