Cars are as American as apple pie and our affection for the automobile has staggering environmental implications. The United States leads the global auto market, followed by China, after bumping Japan out of the number two ranking in 2006. The average US household has two mid-sized vehicles, which each emit upwards of 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide every year. Every gallon of gasoline burned releases 20 pounds of CO2, making the transportation sector responsible for about a quarter of overall US carbon dioxide emissions. And because no combustion is perfectly clean, cars are also a primary source of local air pollution.
While the best car is no car at all, sometimes it’s impossible to do without. Consumers have the opportunity to choose vehicles that emit less greenhouse gases and receive agreeable fuel economy, including hybrid-electric cars, diesel cars, and alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs). Other less common or in-development alternative fuels include electricity, hydrogen, and propane.
Learn more at GreenYour Car buying
While your car is probably the single-biggest contributor to your environmental footprint,
driving less aggressively and maintaining the engine and tire pressure can improve fuel economy by close to 15 percent, allowing a US driver an additional 1,700 miles using the same amount of gas each year.
Learn more at GreenYour Car driving
Traveling by car, and particularly a hybrid or other green car, produces fewer CO2 emissions than plane travel: you could drive for about 12,000 miles and still release less CO2 than a single transatlantic flight. By choosing an eco-friendly rental, you can help reduce the environmental impact of vehicles, which account for about one-third of CO2 emissions in the US.
Learn more at GreenYour Car renting
Over 230 million replacement automobile and light truck tires are purchased in the United States each year, and each passenger automobile tire contains an average of 2.5 gallons of petroleum. In other words, about 1.6 million gallons of petroleum are used to manufacture tires for US consumption each day.
Learn more at GreenYour Tires
- People’s Daily Online - China Stands as World's 2nd Largest Auto Market
- Environmental Defense - Cars: Pollution Solutions in Reach
- Fueleconomy.gov - How Can 6 Pounds of Gasoline Produce 20 Pounds of Carbon Dioxide?
- US Environmental Protection Agency - Emission Facts: Greenhouse Gas Emissions from a Typical Passenger Vehicle
- US Department of Energy - Transportation Energy Data Book: Edition 26 (2007)
- US Department of Energy - Driving More Efficiently
- US Environmental Protection Agency - Fuel Economy Labeling of Motor Vehicles
- TreeHugger - Air Travel and Climate Change: Take the Train
- Center for Climate Change and Environmental Forecasting - Transportation and Air Quality
- California Integrated Waste Management Board - Evaluation of Employee Health Risk from Open Tire Burning