Case Study





Christopher Aranda


Prof. Foreman

ENVS 2202

Impact of automobiles on the environment


The advancement of the automobile took a turn in the 20th century though it existed earlier on in the 19th century. According to Laudon and Laudon (2011), the U.S has over 250 million vehicles today. Though the rise of automobiles has made a turn in the lives of Americans, it also cost the Americans adverse environmental impacts. The first advantage is that automobile, as a means of transport, has helped in establishing a mobile society. Fast and cheap transportation raises the productivity of a country through a convenient distribution of goods and services (Taub et al., 2007). Cars are the leading forms of family flexibility and mobility. Second, automobiles have created a considerable economic value through the growth of industries. According to Gilmore and Lave (2013), trucks have contributed the most in modern economy productivity. Trucks conduct the most extensive section of transportation. Moreover, the construction of roads creates employment opportunities and thus boosting the economy. Third, automobiles facilitated the creation of service facilities such as garages and fueling stations. These also contributed to economic growth, thus raising the living standards for the Americans.

However, despite the pros, automobiles have also caused the Americans, a significant threat due to air and water pollution. Research has shown that automobiles contribute to 34% of nitrogen dioxide, 33% carbon dioxide and 51% carbon monoxide (Sellnau et al., 2015). The carbon dioxide released as a result of the combustion of gasoline and diesel in the automobile engine is U.S leading source of greenhouse gases. Due to air pollution, automobiles have the disadvantage of risking human health, with effects such as bronchitis, lung cancer cardiovascular and heart diseases. A second disadvantage is that automobile cause energy overconsumption. While the United States only generate 10% of petroleum globally, it consumes 26% (Black, 2012). Every year, as Black (2012), asserts cars and truck in the U.S account for 43% of the burned petroleum. Third, automobile occupies an extensive landscape and causes land-use changes. Automobiles in the U.S contributes to the consumption of approximately 13,000 square miles of the U.S land. Urban roads are reported to cover over 4,000 square miles. According to Jakle et al. (2004), the land-use changes have been reported to be the most prevalent socioeconomic influence that not only catalyzes changes but also causes ecosystem degradation. Building urban roads drive urban development which considerably changes the landscape.




Black, B. C. (2012). Oil for living: petroleum and American conspicuous consumption. The Journal of American History99(1), 40-50.

Gilmore, E. A., & Lave, L. B. (2013). Comparing resale prices and total cost of ownership for gasoline, hybrid and diesel passenger cars and trucks. Transport Policy27, 200-208.

Jakle, J. A., Jakle, J. A., Sculle, K. A., & Sculle, K. A. (2004). Lots of parking: Land use in a car culture. University of Virginia Press.

Laudon, K. C., & Laudon, J. P. (2011). Essentials of management information systems. Upper Saddle River: Pearson.

Sellnau, M., Moore, W., Sinnamon, J., Hoyer, K., Foster, M., & Husted, H. (2015). GDCI multi-cylinder engine for high fuel efficiency and low emissions. Sae international journal of engines8(2), 775-790.

Taub, A. I., Krajewski, P. E., Luo, A. A., & Owens, J. N. (2007). The evolution of technology for materials processing over the last 50 years: The automotive example. JOM59(2), 48-57.

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