The emissions issues that cars cause

It’s an accepted fact that the emissions that come from cars are some of the biggest causes of air pollution and climate change, but because the car is now such an integral and essential part of our lives, we’re really struggling to change this situation. So what is it that causes cars to emit in such a way that these huge problems arise? In one word, the answer is fuel. The fuel that is burned to make your car move emits carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and other hydrocarbons through your exhaust pipe as well as from the engine itself (albeit in lower quantities). Believe it or not, even the fumes that enter the atmosphere when you’re filling up your tank contain harmful substances, so it seems as if there’s no getting away from it. Or is there?

Governments across the world are trying to penalise people with taxes so they pay more attention to the emissions their car gives out. Tests are carried out that determine how much bad stuff your car emits and in extreme cases, drivers will be prevented from driving their cars away from test centres until they tackle the problem. In many countries the tax you pay will be a directly related to the emission levels.

In terms of things we can all do to reduce emissions as individuals, here are 3 simple ideas:

  1. Make sure your car is regularly serviced. A poorly running engine is likely to emit more pollutants into the atmosphere than an engine that has been tuned correctly.
  2. Make sure you’ve got sufficient air in your tyres. This may seem odd, but cars that are running on underinflated tyres emit more bad stuff into the world.
  3. Go hybrid. No one’s advocating that hybrids currently suit everyone in the world, but they’re getting there and are a great way of not only reducing your emissions, but also of reducing your fuel bills substantially.

In fact, even ideas number 1 and 2 will help you make savings on your fuel bills.

Here are some of the biggest issues that are worth thinking about:

  1. Carbon Monoxide emissions from cars interfere with the blood’s ability to transport oxygen around the body. This poses particular risks for unborn or newborn babies and anyone with heart disease.
  2. Smog or Ozone, which is a secondary product of car emissions combine with nitrogen oxide in UV light and attack lung tissue and are particularly dangerous to anyone with lung and respiratory problems, but aren’t good news for healthy people either.
  3. Sulphur Dioxide, which is emitted from diesel engines. This substance constricts air passages, which means that the lungs need to work even harder to achieve the same results. Again, anyone with the likes of asthma or young children are particularly at risk.

So there you have it; some of the real costs of running a car. While no one is advocating that the car should be banished from our lives, it maybe now is the time to start thinking about it differently?