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TransportationTraffic jam

Did you Know...

If the entire US fleet were replaced overnight with plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, the nation’s oil consumption would decrease by 70% or more, completely eliminating the need for petroleum imports. (Daniel M. Kammen, University of California, Berkeley)

Ah, the almighty automobile. What would we do without it? For starters, we’d be a lot healthier, what with all the fresh air and exercise. And we’d certainly hear a lot less news about the gloom and doom of global warming. Overall, transportation has an enormous impact on the environment, but of all the modes of transportation, personal vehicles have far and away the greatest impact because they account for about 84% of passenger miles traveled.

In the areas of fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and the emissions of smog-forming and toxic air pollutants, the personal vehicle is king. In the U.S. alone, they currently consume some 150 billion gallons of gasoline/year. If other nations burned gasoline at this rate, world consumption would rise by a factor of almost 10, which would be a serious problem because gasoline comes from a nonrenewable (finite) resource that took millions of years to form. And the fact that most of the world’s oil reserves formed in some of the most unstable countries in the world makes our continued reliance on gasoline even more problematic.

When you consider that the number of vehicles worldwide is expected to triple to more than two billion by the year 2050, it’s clear that we must do what we can to limit the number of vehicles on the road and make reducing the environmental impact of each vehicle a high priority.

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