Junk in the Air: Your Car and its Affects on Global Warming

In a modern society, cars are one of the most common methods of transportation. A vehicle can be a compact or family car, a truck, motorcycle, van, or SUV. Because cars are used with such frequency they have come to represent a problem in terms of the environment for their association with global warming. This is in part due to the large number of vehicles around the world and the fuel that is used to operate them. People who are familiar with global warming understand the importance of finding a solution to the problem. One way to do that is to understand the relationship between cars and global warming.

What is Global Warming and How Does it Affect the Environment?

Global warming is often referred to as global climate change. It is called this because it involves a rise in the earth's atmosphere as well as an increase in the ocean's temperature. As the temperature of the atmosphere and ocean continues to rise this creates numerous problems for the environment, including more powerful storms, plus severe flooding and droughts. As the name applies, it is creating a problem all around the world and has been an ever-increasing problem since the 19th century. As a result of global warming the environment around the world is undergoing a gradual change. This change can and will continue to have an enormous impact on lives of people everywhere. In addition, it will continue to affect plant and animal life in ways that can alter the world as it is known today. Changes in the weather create environments that are hostile for crop growth that have resulted in food shortages. Areas that are known for cold weather are experiencing warmer weather and warmer areas are experiencing colder weather. This is causing certain types of animal life to thrive and others to fade or migrate to areas that are outside of their usual habitat. An excess of certain types of animals or insects may consume or otherwise destroy certain types of plants. Changes in the weather also facilitates the spread of tropical diseases that thrive in warmer climates. Global warming is also believed to be responsible for the rising of the oceans water and melting of snow caps.

Causes of Global Warming

The greenhouse effect is one of the primary causes of global warming. The greenhouse effect is a condition in which the Earth's atmosphere traps heat and reflects it back towards the Earth's surface. This greenhouse effect is a result of a build-up certain gases that include methane, carbon dioxide (CO2). Humans are a major cause of global warming. Through human action, such as driving cars that emit greenhouse gases to deforestation. The use of electricity is another cause of global warming. How Cars Affect Global Warming Vehicles are one of the most major causes of global warming. In the United States, people drive their cars on a daily basis, to and from work, to the store for shopping and for other activities. Cars' main contribution to global warming is that a majority of them run off of fossil fuel. When the car's engine burns these fossil fuels they produce carbon dioxide which contributes to the greenhouse effect. Cars with poor fuel economy also are contributors to global warming because they burn off more fuel than fuel-efficient vehicles. Even the production of cars affects their impact on global warming. Global Warming Statistics and Trends Reviewing the statistics is the best way to appreciate the severity of global warming and the impact of certain activities, such as driving a car. The United States is one of the largest contributors when it comes to carbon dioxide. This is because there are approximately 232 million registered vehicles on U.S. roads. Each of these cars creates between 6 to 9 tons of carbon dioxide a year. Although the U.S. is responsible for a large amount of the carbon dioxide that is released yearly, it is not the only one aspect of global warming and it is not the sole contributor. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere around the world is higher than it has been in 650,000 years. The Earth is getting warmer over recent decades. Since 1880, it has increased in temperature by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit and it is expected to raise another 2 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. This increase is occurring twice as fast in Alaska and it is believed that by 2040 Alaska will have its first ice-free summer. In 1910 there were 150 glaciers at Montana's Glacier National Park, but there are currently only 27 left. Increases in global temperatures are also causing coral reefs to die off, in some cases coral reefs have lost up to 70 percent. Global warming changes are also expected to cause over a million species to face potentially extinction.

Vehicle Solutions to Prevent Global Warming

There are a number of solutions to consider when contemplating how to prevent or reduce the impact of vehicles in relation to global warming. When possible, people may choose to abstain from driving a car altogether, or reduce how often they drive. To do this they may choose to ride a bike, take a bus or use some other form of mass transit as an alternative means of transportation. When buying a car, drivers should look for vehicles that have good fuel economy, or consider purchasing an alternatively-powered vehicle such as a hybrid or electric car. Cars that run on alternative fuels, such as biodiesel, hydrogen, ethanol, or natural gas, are also options. Alternative fuels produce less pollution than gasoline and they are made from renewable resources. In some cases, there may even be tax incentives for people who purchase alternative fuel vehicles.