Air pollution is a very big problem in the United States. A large part
of air pollution comes from cars. The Environmental Protection Agency says,
“The most polluting activity an average person does everyday is drive their
car”(1 factsheet OMS-5). Most people probably aren’t aware that they are
polluting the environment. Maybe if everyone knew how serious this pollution
problem is, they would find ways to reduce the pollution.
Most pollution that is released by cars comes from the exhaust, mainly
in the form of hydrocarbons(1 factsheet, OMS-5). Hydrocarbons are organic
compounds ,a combination of two or more elements, that contain only carbon and
hydrogen (2 factsheet, OMS-5). Hydrocarbons are released when fuel in the
engine burns partially. When hydrocarbons come in contact with sunlight they
form ground level ozone. Ground level ozone is a major ingredient in the
formation of smog. Ground level ozone is responsible for irritating eyes,
damaging lungs, and it complicating respiratory problems. Hydrocarbons aren’t
the only pollutants released through car exhaust.
Two more pollutants released through car exhaust are carbon monoxide and
nitrogen oxide. The first reduces the flow of oxygen to the bloodstream, and
could harm people with heart disease. Nitrogen oxide is formed when a car
engine gets hot. It contains chemicals that aid in the formation of ground
level ozone as well as acid rain (2 factsheet, OMS-5). Acid rain destroys the
outsides of buildings, statues, etc. Acid rain can also contaminate drinking
water, damage vegetation, and destroy sealife. These two pollutants are two of
the most dangerous pollutants released through car exhaust. If these two
pollutants were cut down just a little bit our planet would be a safer place to
Carbon dioxide is another gas released through exhaust emissions. It
isn’t dangerous directly to humans, but it is considered to be a “green house
gas.” A “greenhouse gas” is a gas that is associated with global warming.
Global warming is the gradual increase of temperature due to human activity.
Certain gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and ozone allow radiation from
the sun to break through the atmosphere and go to the earth’s surface. Global
warming affects all living things on the entire planet (4 factsheet OMS-5).
Another type of hydrocarbon pollutant occurs through fuel evaporation.
These hydrocarbon pollutants are produced four different ways. The first way is
called diurnal. This is when the venting of gasoline vapors occurs due to the
temperature of the car’s engine rising. The second way is running losses. This
is the venting of gasoline when the car’s engine is running. The third way is
called hot soak. Hot soak occurs when gasoline evaporates after the car has
been turned off. The fourth way additional hydrocarbons are released occurs
when a person is refueling a car. This occurs when a person fills up their gas
tank. While the tank is being filled gasoline vapors are forced out. One way
to cut down on this type of pollution is to have the car tuned properly. The
refueling problem can be reduced with the use of vapor recovery system. This
system traps the vapor inside the tank. These systems are present at many gas
stations in highly polluted areas (4 factsheet, OMS-5).
Some cities around the world are very dangerous to live in because of
car pollution. One city is Athens, Greece. In Athens the number of deaths rises
on days with greater air pollution. Just breathing the air in Bombay is the same
as smoking half a pack of cigarettes a day (97 Brown). Over 150 million people
in the United States live in areas where the Environmental Protection Agency
considers the air to be unhealthy. The American Lung Association says, “The
unhealthy air leads to 120, 000 deaths every year” (97 Brown). The citizens of
earth are killing themselves. They are killing themselves for convenience.
Eventhough the actions taken by the government and car manufacturers have
reduced car emissions a lot since 1970, The number of miles an average person
travels in a day has doubled (4 factsheet OMS-4). The average person must find
a way to reduce the number of miles he or she drives. One way to do these is to
car pool. If a large number of people started to car pool, pollution produced
by cars would be reduced. This would reduce the amount of smog in urban areas,
making these polluted areas a better place to live.
There are many other alternatives to reduce car emissions besides
carpooling. One possible solution is to use