There’s an interesting courtroom battle shaping up out in California. The state is attempting to institute new emissions standards for greenhouse gases. Such regulations could reduce exhaust emissions by 25% in cars and light trucks and 18% in SUVs. California already has the toughest standards in the nation-standards adopted by 10 states, including New York. This new proposal would surpass federal emissions standards and is likely to eventually raise the national bar even higher. Guess who’s not happy about this? Among others, DaimlerChrysler Corp., General Motors, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers have filed suit, claiming that California is in violation of the federal Clean Air Act because the state did not get a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency. In other words, the automobile giants are siding with the EPA and the Clean Air Act to crush regulations designed to address issues of global warming and human health. You can add this situation to the top ten list of why cars suck. Here are the other nine reasons:
From 1950 to 1970, the U.S. automobile population grew four times faster than the human population. Today, there are around 200 million cars in America. As a result, we Americans spend 8 billion hours per year stuck in traffic.
3. Cars kill people
During the twentieth century, 250 million Americans were maimed or injured in automobile accidents. Every single day in the U.S., an average of 121 people are killed in car accidents. The leading cause of death for children aged 5 to 14 in New York City is pedestrian automobile accidents.
4. Cars kill animals
Automobiles, SUVs, trucks, and other fossil field-burning vehicles kill a million wild animals per week in the U.S.-not counting tens of thousands of family pets.
5. Sprawling for dollars
During the last century, an area equal to all the arable land in Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania was paved in the U.S. This area requires maintenance costing over $200 million a day. (The surreptitious cost of the car culture totals nearly $464 billion a year in the U.S. alone, much of that going to the sustentation of a military presence in the Persian Gulf.)
6. Getting warmer?
Automobiles emit one-quarter of U.S. greenhouse gases.
7. Oil in our veins
The U.S. spends $60 billion per year on foreign oil. Eight million barrels of oil per day is combusted in U.S. cars. That’s 450 gallons per person per year.
8. They’re all wasted
Cars create 7 billion pounds of un-recycled scrap and waste annually.
9. Leaving rubber
With approximately one billion discarded tires littering our increasingly paved landscape, meditate upon this: Every tire loses one pound of rubber per year, spewing minute grains of rubber into the stratosphere and then back down to find a new home in our water and/or our lungs. 10. Cars are hell During the 40 days of the (first) Gulf War, 146 Americans died keeping the world safe for petroleum while at home, 4900 Americans died in motor vehicle accidents.
Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net.