Why And How We Need To Improve The Environmental Impact Of Automobiles In The Us

3820 words - 15 pages

The United States of America needs to protect the environment with regard to automobile emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency needs to mandate that automobiles be rated for mileage based on actual mileage for each vehicle, as deemed acceptable by the EPA, and not on averages of the fleet, as well as to impose fuel taxes on gasoline to encourage less driving.
The vast majority of scientists agree that global warming is a reality. The consensus is that global warming is a man-made phenomenon. Carbon dioxide is a 9and the primary contributor to global warming. Burning fossil fuels is responsible for 79% of America’s contribution to greenhouse gases (EPA)
Burning of fossil fuels by automobiles represents 30% of our greenhouse gas emissions. One gallon of gasoline fuel burned by automobiles equals 25 pounds of greenhouse gases emitted into our atmosphere. The United States of America needs to change this path that our country is headed down in order to help the earth be cleaner and better for future generations.
Around the world, America is seen as a leader. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more than half of the air pollution in our nation is caused by mobile sources, primarily automobiles, followed by other transportation types (King). America uses a large percentage of the world’s carbon-based fuels. In 2008, the US was responsible for 18% of the global carbon use with only 4.5% of the world’s population. Only China was higher at 23%, but China has 19% of the world’s population. The entire European Union used only 14%, while the EU has 7% of the world’s population (UN data). These data suggest a disproportionately high US carbon use.
A large part of American energy usage is for transportation. To reduce carbon emissions, we need to, in part, reduce transportation use of carbon fuels. There are several ways to do this. By reducing the American usage of transportation, or at least the use of individual transportation such as cars in favor of more efficient modes such as public transportation, we can improve the fuel economy of the transportation we do use, such as cars, sport utility vehicles, and trucks. To improve the fuel efficiency of commuting, the government can either increase fuel prices through fuel taxes, thereby forcing people to drive less or to purchase more fuel-efficient vehicles, or mandate the manufacture of more fuel-efficient cars for people to buy.
The way our country has decided to reduce carbon emissions is through mandates on manufacturers of cars. These mandates are referred to as CAFE standards or laws. Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) laws have been enacted since 1975 to increase mileage and to reduce emissions. By mandating stricter CAFE standards, we can reduce carbon emissions and perhaps slow global warming. Transportation, specifically cars, contributes heavily to carbon dioxide emissions (NHTS).
Because of this relative carbon footprint of cars, CAFE standards are of vital...

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