Why Clean Cars?
Why clean cars? Because people—and our planet—are
We need to clean up our act. We need to cut air pollution and
emissions that cause global warming to improve quality of life for
everyone today and ensure a safer world for our kids.
We love our cars, but they're a big part of the problem.
Vehicles, Air Pollution and Public
Motor vehicles are major sources of emissions that cause smog and
fine-particle soot. They are also big sources of toxic chemicals
that can cause cancer.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than
150 million Americans live in areas that violate public health
standards for ozone, smog, or fine particle soot. Both ozone and
fine particle soot have been linked to a range of public health
problems, including asthma attacks, increased emergency room visits
and premature death.
The EPA has also noted that people who live or work near major
roads or who spend a large amount of time in vehicles are likely to
have a higher risk of developing cancer than other Americans
because they are exposed to high levels of cancer-causing chemicals
like benzene from motor vehicles.
Global Warming and Smog
Hot summer days are getting hotter because of global warming, but
there's another problem. The Natural Resources Defense Council has
found that higher temperatures would also mean more summertime
The NRDC report, "Heat
Advisory: How Global Warming Causes More Bad Air Days,"
presents a comprehensive analysis by medical experts at the Johns
Hopkins University, Columbia University, University at Albany-SUNY,
Yale University and University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The analysis finds that people living in the eastern United States
could see the average number of unhealthy air days during summer
increase from 12 days to 20 days by the middle of the century.
Pollen levels could also increase. Higher levels of smog and
allergens would mean more asthma attacks, more hospitalizations,
and more children told they can't play outdoors.
Mobile vs. Stationary
Cars, SUVs and pickup trucks account for more than one-fifth of
smog-forming nitrogen oxides nationally. That's roughly comparable
to the pollution spewed out by all of the nation's coal-burning
electric power companies.
Motor vehicles are the nation's second-biggest source of
heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions. Electric power plants are
Cars, More Miles, More Pollution
According to the U.S. EPA, vehicle miles traveled increased 178
percent between 1970 and 2005. This increase in driving has offset
many of the benefits of federal motor vehicle pollution standards.
In addition, in the past decade, more people have bought and now
drive sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks. These vehicles
typically produce more heat-trapping global warming emissions.
And even though we have reduced emissions overall of such
conventional pollutants as carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, global
warming emissions from motor vehicles have increased.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration has projected
that global warming pollution from motor vehicles will continue to
increase in the next quarter-century unless we curb motor vehicle