Automobiles: A Global Crash

by FelixMorin on Septembre 18, 2017 - 1:06pm

Automobiles and their impacts on environment


Stephania Dascalescu, Felix Morin, Laura Henry, Emilie Beauchemin, Olivia Mazzarello


One of the reasons why cars have been around for so long is because they are very convenient. In fact, drivers can use them whenever they like, unlike buses and trains, which have very precise schedules. Cities have been developed in order to accommodate cars instead of humans, which is one of the main reasons we are now so dependent on them. Also, trucks transport most of the resources we consume from one country to another, such as food and clothing.

There are many consequences to the overuse of cars in our society.  In fact, cars and trucks are among the biggest contributors to the heat-trapping emissions that cause global warming. Out of all the emissions produced in the U.S., one fifth of them is produced by trucks. There is no other part of our lives that waste more energy and money than cars.

Cars also affect human health. 1.5 million deaths and 78 million injuries are due to cars. Americans lose on average 10 years of life because of car pollution. Vehicles are the 8th leading cause of death.

When traveling in cars, you reduce the possibility of encountering people and having social interactions. For example, when people use public transit, they are forced to interact with others, whereas they are not necessarily interacting when they are alone in a car.

Other logistic problems are caused by vehicles. In fact, all of the infrastructures that comes with cars. Since we are constantly improving roads by making them larger and adding extra lanes, installing extra lights and stop signs, we expand across the land. We constantly build huge freeway structures which are costly and increase taxes and debt. An important barrier to reducing our car use is the vicious circle of automobiles. In fact, when automobiles go mainstream, it encourages urban sprawl (massive urbanization). Since people often live in suburbs and need to travel to go in the cities to work, there is more and more car ownership and use, since cars are so convenient. Therefore, because of the increase of cars on the road, there is more traffic. More traffic leads to improving/building new freeways, which leads to urban sprawl, and the vicious circle continues…

Contrary to popular beliefs, electric cars not solving the problem because the electricity has to come from somewhere which is often coal, fire power plants. Some solutions we could apply in order to be less dependent on cars would be to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by cutting down on car use, choosing fuel efficient vehicles, joining a carpool or sharing a car program, public transport, cycling, walking, and stop designing cities based on cars and build them based on humans.