There have been many car pollution facts recorded in the last 100 years. The history of car pollution has been one of air and water contamination followed by regulated improvement. Cars may be fun, useful, and profitable, but except for shiny exteriors and new smelling interiors, they are not clean. Cars have long put millions of tons of dirt and bad chemicals into the air and water. This trend had been led by consumer demand followed by profiting manufacturers, oil companies, and government inaction.
Car Pollution Facts
Car pollution facts - General
- Cars pollute the air, water and land.
- Cars today are in fact much cleaner than 30 years ago.
But, there are many more cars driving many more miles.
- Cars and trucks cause a lot of air the pollution in the world
today, and contribute a lot to the most common and
dangerous air pollutants.
- China and the USA alone produce close to half of the
world's carbon dioxide...much of that from cars.
- SUVs pollute a lot more than cars.
- Most ozone pollution is caused by cars and trucks.
- Your car makes carbon dioxide based only on how many
gallons of gasoline your car burns.
- It's not the kind of car you drive, but how many miles you
drive it and how many gallons of gas you burn that counts.
- Car tires wear out as you drive on them and the particles
from those tires go into the air.
- The air near within a few hundred yards or so of big streets
is most likely polluted with harmful particulates from, and
stirred up by, traffic.
- Car washes make our cars shine, but put pollutants into
streams, waterways, and eventually drinking water.
- The National Geographic reports more tornadoes in the USA
during the week than on the weekend. Weekday commuter
pollutants are to blame!
- The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality says that
people idling their cars while waiting to pick up their kids
from school create local pollution hot spots that can make
kids sick from asthma, to bronchitis and pneumonia.
Israel takes action to reduce car air pollution.
The plan is to get clunkers off the road. Similar legislation has been used in the USA.
Top 10 US clunkers paid to retire:
1. Ford Explorer 4WD
2. Ford F150 Pickup 2WD
3. Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD
4. Ford Explorer 2WD
5. Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan 2WD
6. Jeep Cherokee 4WD
7. Chevrolet Blazer 4WD
8. Chevrolet C1500 Pickup 2WD
9. Ford F150 Pickup 4WD
10. Ford Windstar FWD Van
Obesity is linked to high levels of car and truck pollution - diesel busses and trucks the worst
Car pollution facts - Amounts of air pollution
- 25% of cars, clunkers, put out 90% of car air pollution.
- Newer small diesel cars produce pollution at up to 25 times EU legal
- Measuring amounts of air pollution accurately is questioned. It appears
methods used have underestimated air pollution - a lot. This according to
work in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences' Online Early
- According to the non-profit International Council on Clean Transportation
(ICCT), new car CO2 emissions are actually 25% higher on average than
- According to the National Geographic, over half the air pollution in the
USA is caused by transport, mostly automobiles.
-1,400 new vehicles arrive in New Delhi, India daily adding to 7 million
already there, a 65 percent increase since 2003. Resulting fine particle
pollution has gone up around 47 percent and NOx rose 57 percent as well
- from the New Delhi Journal.
- 70% of air pollution in Chinese cities is from cars and trucks.
- 42% of air pollution in Dubai is from cars and trucks.
- 17% of air pollution in Hong Kong is caused by the 550,000 gas burning
- 80% of air pollution in Manila, the Philippines is from auto traffic.
- CO2 emissions from U.S. cars & trucks alone is about 1 million TONS
- CO2 emissions from all volcanoes is about ½ million TONS per day.
- Human activities release over 130 times the amount of CO2 emitted by
- About 5-7% of the particles from worn out tires heads into the air as
PM10 or less sizes. These PM sizes are bad for the lungs.
- 2010 cars are about 20 times cleaner than cars 20 years ago.
- CO (carbon monoxide) emissions have decreased a significant amount.
- HC (hydrocarbon) emissions have decreased a significant amount.
- PM 2.5 emissions have been lowered with cleaner fuels.
- PM 10 emissions will only improve with less vehicular travel.
- It is estimated that of the CO2 emissions produced over a car's lifespan,
from its manufacture and 5% from its disposal, with the remaining 85%
coming from fuel use and servicing operations.
- Sleeper cab diesel rigs idle 28 hours per week, burning 1500 gallons of
fuel per year per rig.
- Traffic congestion wastes billions of gallons of gas.
Car pollution facts - Health effects
- Air pollution kills some 2,700 per year in Tehran, Iran. Thousands of old
cars driving around to are largely to blame.
- Researchers at MIT’s Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment have
that annually some 53,000 people die prematurely from road transport in
the USA. By comparison, there were 58,151 casualties in the Vietnam
- High levels of car and truck pollution increases hyperactivity (ADHD) in
to work published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
- Moms in highly car polluted areas have smaller babies which is not good
health. This is according to The Journal of Environmental Health
- The Stanford School of Medicine says Moms living in the San Joaquin
California during their early weeks of pregnancy had an elevated risk of
having birth defects in their newborns due to air pollution.
- China has its share of newborns with birth defects. In the highly polluted
Shanxi province, 140 babies out of 10,000 born have had congenital
neural tube defects. The findings are in the Aug 2, 2011 Proceedings of
the National Academy of Sciences.
- The Lancet medical journal reported in Dec 2012 that some 1.2 million
premature births in China were the result of bad air.
- India experienced 620,000 preemies in the same time.
- According Government of Scotland data, up to 3,000 people die there
from car induced air pollution. This is in contrast to 190 killed per year in
- About 80 people per DAY are killed in the USA from car induced air
- Air Particulate Matter pollution kills an average of 40,000 per year in the
U.S. and up to some 200,000 in Europe.
- 1996 EPA report: cars, trucks, and buses produce over 3,000 cases of
- China's 14 largest cities: air pollution kills 50,000 newborn babies.
- Chinas 14 largest cities: air pollution is responsible for 400,000 cases of
respiratory illness every year.
- In the formerly beautiful Hangzhou China, the sky is grey from car
- Car exhaust has also been linked to asthma, bronchitis, and other health
- If you think bad air affects only other people, think again. New information
shows that air pollution from traffic increases the chance of heart attack
for everybody breathing that air. The results are in the Journal Lancet.
- Car pollution caused "significant damage" to neurons involved in learning
and memory, and "signs of inflammation associated with premature aging
and Alzheimer's disease." The damage was to lab mice.
- Intensive Car and truck pollution is shown to increase the risk of
premature birth by
30%. The Univ. of Ca. Reports from traffic related air quality data in In
- Chronic Car pollution in Denmark increases the Risk for Diabetes in
healthy folks by some 4%. The Nitrogen oxides in car pollution seems to
be the culprit.
- Those in dirty diesel areas are up to 3 times more likely to contract
deadly lung cancer than those in cleaner air areas.
- Research by the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health
shows that kids in highly inner city areas are way more likely to be obese
due to high pollution levels from cars and trucks. Diesel busses and
trucks are the worst.
- Hong Kong residents are heading to the Emergency Room in increasing
numbers and passing away at the rate of 3,200 per year or nearly 10 per
day due to bad air. Many plan to move to escape the particulate poisons.
- Some 4,000 London residents per year face early death to car pollution
according to a report by the Kings College in London.
Car air pollution has a price. Recent work by Dresden Tech. shows every UK citizen pays £600 about $1,000 USD per year as a result of car pollution, noise and accidents.
Car pollution facts - Typical amounts of fuel burned
- Americans use nearly 400 million gallons of gasoline every
day (not all in cars)
- California alone uses over 40 million gallons per day, about
equal to China...China is quickly catching up
- 400 million gallons will fill a 600 acre lake about 2 feet deep
Just 25% of cars produce 90% of car air pollution.
- Idling in traffic uses over 8 million gallons of gasoline per day - a 25
acre lake of gas
- The U.S. uses about half of the world's gasoline
- In a 3500 lb car with a 150 lb driver, about 96% of the gas is used to
move only the car
- In a 7000 lb SUV with a 150 lb driver, about 98% of the gas is used to
move only the SUV
- The California Air Resources Board has shown that plumes of freeway
pollution in the Los Angeles area can travel more than a mile downwind
early in the morning.
Air pollution from cars idling in school zones makes kids sick.
Car pollution facts - Amounts of other pollution
- About 2.3 million tons of lead in lead acid (PbA) batteries is on the road
- Over 97% of PbA batteries are recycled.
- Over 1 million tons of lead are used in making new batteries each year.
- Over 100,000 tons of lead are lost in the making and disposal of batteries.
- Internal combustion engine cars pollute a lot; electric vehicles pollute
also, but not as much.
- Ammonia solution on spilled battery acid will neutralize the acid.
Car pollution facts - Actions to help fix the problem
- The current most cost effective measures for controlling carbon dioxide
growth are conservation programs/standards and energy efficiency
- Drive an electric car.
- Drive less.
- Start a No Driving Day once a week.
- Walk, bike, take the bus or train whenever possible.
- Save your gasoline powered car for long trips and hauling chores.
- Beijing, China authorities have requested residents to shut their engines
off when faced with idling for more than 3 minutes. The city wants to have
170,000 new energy cars on its roads by 2017.
Car pollution facts - Historic highlights
1901 - Spindletop East Texas oil strike leaves ruins in its wake.
1923 - Lead introduced in gasoline, lead in gas is toxic and finally banned
1940 - Los Angeles residents complain about “smog,” likely from autos
1963 - First Clean air Act
1965 - Motor Vehicle Air Pollution Control Act
1966 - 86 of 146 million tons of pollutants is from motor vehicles.
1966 - California regulates emissions with mandatory devices on vehicles.
1968 - Hydrocarbon emissions down by 12%, but NOx is up by 28%
1969 - Santa Barbara offshore blowout and oil spill
1970 - US Clean air act amended
1973 - Oil Embargo # 1
1974 - 55 mph speed limit reduces gas use a little and pollution, but the
1975 - CAFÉ standards # 1
1979 - Oil Embargo # 2
1975 - California cars required to have catalytic converters
1985 - EPA estimates 50,000 US and Canadian streams dead or dying
from acid rain
1986 - CAFÉ standards rolled back to rescue oil prices
1989 - Exxon Valdez oil spill sets new standard in offshore spills
1991 - Iraqi oil war # 1: Massive oil fire air pollution
1995 - Re-formulated gas in metro US areas to lower ozone
2003 - Iraqi oil war # 2
2006 - Low sulfur diesel fuel mandated in US
2009 - Extensive fracking operations affecting groundwater
2009 - New CAFÉ Standards passed: 35 mpg by 2020
2012 - The US EPA first regulates emissions from fracking operations
2013 - Car pollution declines reported in the USA
Hong Kong air pollution is at the highest levels ever recorded - ageing cars to blame
More tornadoes during the week! Traffic pollutants increase nuclei in the air that builds tornado producing clouds.
Cars put some 350 million tons of CO2 into the air every year.