The Environmental Impact of Driving Your Own Vehicle

This is an article from Gemma Renton

Car pollution is having a huge impact on our environment, affecting everything from the size of the hole in the ozone layer to the health and wellbeing of the general public, with vehicle air pollution contributing to the rise in individuals suffering from acute respiratory conditions around the world. One of the most devastating impacts of increased motor vehicle use is the increased level of pollutants it is releasing into our air and atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide is the dominant greenhouse gas that causes global warming, which is causing havoc amongst our weather systems, and the average American vehicle with a 3 liter engine releases over 10,000 pounds of this into the atmosphere each year (hybrid vehicles, such as the vehicles we use, are able to reduce this figure to between 4,000-5,000 pounds). Motor vehicles also release carbon monoxide, sulphur and nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and lead into the atmosphere. This dangerous cocktail of chemicals can have negative impacts on your heart health, respiratory wellbeing, and in many forms hydrocarbons have even been shown to contribute to the development of cancer and certain birth defects. All of these pollutants are those that escape from your tailpipe every time you turn on your engine, and don’t include the myriad of pollutants and environmental damage caused by the auto motor construction industry each year, in order to meet our demand for new cars.

In addition to having negative effects on human health, car pollution is detrimental to the environment.

As well as the obvious impact to the environment of taking even just one car off the road, there are many other benefits of choosing to give up your car and instead use public transport, carpooling, or private eco transportation companies such as our own:

The Health Implications

Just one century ago, the average American walked for three miles every day. Now, even the most health conscious amongst us are likely to jump in the car to the gym to get on a treadmill if we feel like walking for three miles. The fact is that the convenience of car ownership has made us lazy, and this is having many negative implications of our overall health and wellbeing. America is struggling with an obesity epidemic, thanks to a general public whose daily exercise intake is in rapid decline: this decline has been impacted by the ease of jumping in the car to reach your next destination, rather than choosing to walk or even cycle if your destination is just down the block. When you choose to give up your car, you’ll be amazed at how much more you walk, how convenient and easy walking short distances is (without the added hassle of having to find a parking space when you reach your destination) and you’ll quickly see that your health and fitness levels will increase too.

The Financial Implications

An added bonus of giving up your own car is that it can actually help to save you money in the long run, as well as giving you an immediate cash injection when your car is sold (ideal if you need to pay of some bills, clear debt, or simply have other expenses that you’re struggling to cover after the excesses of the holiday period). People often assume that it is cheaper to drive from A to B than it is to use public transport but, in reality, when you factor in the cost of parking, gas, car maintenance, and the other expenses involved in being a motorist, it is actually much cheaper to simply hop on the bus or on the subway. What’s more, thanks to specific carpooling lanes (which can also be used by taxi shuttles) and bus routes, you’ll probably get to your destination much quicker if you choose to use public transport than if you sat in traffic and congestion in your own car. So how much does owning your own car actually cost you?  AAA reports that owning and driving a car costs $11,000 per year, and whilst this figure will vary depending on the annual mileage you cover and the age of your vehicle, it’s certainly much more expensive than the cost of an annual transit pass in any American city. The fact is that choosing not to own a car of your own will almost certainly save you money.

Williamsburg Bridge - Siegfried Layda / Getty Images


Cars and trains cross the Williamsburg Bridge.  Siegfried Layda / Getty Images


Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.


Search the EcoShuttle site to find information about us, as well as interesting facts about the Environment.

Our Friendly Shuttles

Currently powered by 100% biodiesel.

Browse by Category

100% biodiesel 100 billion 1869 2010 Affordable Health Care Act 2012 2013 4th of July Adam Yauch adopt a highway Ages and Ages agriculture air pollution air port transportation Alberta Canada Alexana Winery algae algae blooms alternative energy American Chemistry Council Americans animal exctinction animal fats animals apple Archery Summit Athens Atlants Falcons b20 b99 Bamboo Sushi Bangladesh Barack Obama basic rights bear Beastie Boys beer Bengals Berkeley Better Living Show big oil bike bike lanes BikeBar bikes Bill Clinton biodiesel biodynamics Birdfest and Bluegrass Birdfest and Bluegrass Nature Festival birth rate Bison Organic Brewing Black Friday Black Mountain BLIZZAKS blog Bluefin Tuna bluegrass Blues Fest Bobcats Booker T bourbon Bravo Wedding Affair Brazil brew tours brewpubs Buddy Guy bus buses Business Success buy local California Cape Wind Project carbon carbon dioxide carbon emissions carbon foot print carbon legacy Carbon Neutral Challenge carless in portland cars Central America Century Link Field Champoeg Farms charter Chehalem Winery Chernobyl Chicago Chicago Cubs Chicago River China Christmas Christmas tree Cincinnati Reds Cinco De Mayo clean coal clean energy clean energy initiatives Clean Fuels Now climate change coal coal ash cold water laundry colonizing the ocean Columbia Boulevard Columbia Gorge Columbia River Gorge Committed Wedding Event Community Supported Agriculture compost consumption Cooper Mountain Wines cost effective CSM Monitor Cuyahoga River cyclist Daryl Hanna Dave Kestenbaum Daves Killer Bread Dawn of the Bed De Ponte Cellars debris department of defense deposits Dhani Jones dogs dolphins Domaine Drouhin Dr. Robert Ballard drilling drive less Duck Pond eco friendly eco friendly christmas tree eco friendly holiday eco friendly transportation eco portland eco toys ecofriendly EcoHouse ecoShuttle Ecotrope election 2012 electric cars electricity energy environment Environmental Defense EPA facebook Fake Plastic Trees fall travel fauna federal government first thursday fiscal responsibility fish deformities Fish Tale Organic Beer Fisker Karma. Chevy Volt food food supply food waste football Forbes Ford forest park Fourth of July fracking fun Galactic Galleria building George H.W. Bush George W. Bush Germany Glass Candy Glen Jackson Bridge global warming Google Gorge Tour Gov. Schwarzenegger Grain and Gristle Great Willamette Cleanup green beer Green Coach Certification green gifts green house gases green oregon Green Path Green Path Transfers green portland Green Portland Tours green roofs Green Sports Alliance green sprouts Green Tips green transportation green wedding greenest city in america greenloop Grochau Cellars Growing Gardens GrowingGardens growler Happy Hour Holiday Waste Hood River Fruit Loop Hood River Wine Tour hopworks Hopworks Urban Brewery hot green Hotel Monaco Hotel Oregon hoyt arboretum Hurricane Sandy hydrothermal energy Iberdrola Renewables Indiana interstate bicycle highway Italy Ivan Neville Jamal Crawford James Inhofe Jason Jesse and Fiona Yun junk to funk Kentucky Keystone XL Pipeline KGW Lake Michigan Las Vegas LEED Certified Left Coast Cellars Lemelson Vineyards Les Schwab Amphitheatre license plates Little Big Branch lobbyists lobsterman lungs MAC Maceo Parker Macindoe Family Cellars Mark Klosterman Mayor Emanuel McMenamins mcminnville Meatless Monday Memorial Day Miami Erie Canal Microsoft migrating birds military Miss Teen Earth Mississippi River mt hood Mt. Hood Scenic Highway Multnomah Falls MusicFest Northwest MusicfestNW New Jersey New Seasons New Year New York New York City New York Times NFL Niger Nissan Leaf NOAA non partisan northeast Northwest Shingle Recyclers NPR Obama Administration ocean off shore oil platform Ogallala Aquifer Ohio Ohio University oil oil platforms Olympia Olympia Snowe Oregon oregon beaches Oregon Ducks Oregon State University Oregon wines oregon zoo organic coffee overpopulation Ovie Mughelli partisan party pdx pedestrians Philadelphia Eagles pickathon Pink Floyd plastic plastic bag ban plastic bags plate and pitchfork polar ice caps politicians pollution population growth portland Portland Oregon portland oregon in the fall Portland tours Portland Trailblazers powells books preservation President Obama Presidential campaigns Presidential Debates Prius privatized recycling project syndicate pub crawls R99 rain forests Rainbow Wedding Expo rainforest raised gardens recreation recycle recycling Red Lion renewable renewable energy Renewable energy ghost towns reuse Rex Hill Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Ridgefield Nature Preserve roads Robert Cray Rose Festival Rose Garden Arena safety Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival Sam Adams Sasquatch Music Festival Sauvie Island Sauvie Island Organics Science Daily Seahawks Seattle Seattle Seahawks see portland sewage runoff sharks Sherwood shuttles Siria Bojorquez Small Business Saturday Smith Berry Farms Smithsonian Institue snow Sokol Blosser solar energy solar power Solyndra Soter Vineyards spell check spiders State of the Union stem cell research Steve Miller Band Steven Chu Stoller Vineyards studded tires stumptown coffee Styrofoam subway summer Sun Gold Farms Sunnyside superfund site superstorm sustainability sustainable energy sustainable gift wrapping sustainable living sustainable transportation sustainable travel SW Washington Talk of the Nation Science Friday Tesla Texas Thanksgiving the Antlers The Flaming Lips the Wall Thee Oh Sees Three MIle Island Titanic Toronto tours toxins Toyohashi University of Technology Toyota Prius Trail Blazers transfer service transportation trash trashion travel oregon travel portland Travelocity trees University of Vermont Univore used cooking oil Van Wert Vancouver Canucks vegetable oil veggie oil Viridian Farms washington washington park oregon Washington Post waste free wedding Waterfront Blues Fest waterfront blues festival weddings weekend Will Sampson Willamette River Willamette Riverkeepers Willamette Valley Willamette Valley Vineyards Wilsonville wind energy wind farm wind farms wind power wind turbines Winderlea Vineyards wine wine tasting wine tour wine tours winter Yale Yale Project on Climate Change Communication Yucca Mountain Zanzibar

The Green Commuter

Sign Up for our Quarterly Newsletter to find out what we and the rest of the industry are doing to make Green Commuting work.