Why are vehicles a concern?
Most people drive or ride in a vehicle every day - a car, truck, bus, or van. Because vehicles are almost everywhere, we are all exposed to vehicle emissions. These emissions are a major source of air pollution in the United States. They contribute to smog, global warming, and other health and environmental problems. Vehicle emissions are the main cause of air pollution in many urban areas.
Vehicle pollution comes from burning fuel, either gasoline or diesel. Evaporation of fuel also causes air pollution. The most common pollutants in vehicle emissions are nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and hydrocarbons, which form ozone. In addition, vehicles emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming.
Vehicles also emit hazardous air pollutants, or air toxics, which are known or suspected to cause cancer, reproductive problems, birth defects, or other serious health problems. Air toxics in vehicle emissions include benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that air toxics from vehicles account for as much as half of all cancers caused by outdoor sources of air toxics.
Pollution from cars and trucks accounts for about one-third of all the air pollution in the United States and one-fifth of all carbon dioxide emissions. All transportation vehicles contribute 32 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions.
Vehicles also have major safety concerns. Every year, several million vehicles are involved in accidents that injure or kill thousands of people and damage property.
This description is based on the information found in the Web links listed with this topic.
Web Links from MedlinePlus (National Library of Medicine)
Motor Vehicle Safety
Auto Products. Household Products Database (National Library of Medicine)
Clean Cities home page for alternative fuels (Dept. of Energy)
Clean School Bus home page (Environmental Protection Agency)
Fuel Economy Guide (Environmental Protection Agency)
Mobile Source Air Toxics (Environmental Protection Agency)
Motor Vehicle Safety (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
Transportation, Climate Change and Public Health (American Public Health Association) (PDF — 294.94 KB)
Chemicals and Vehicles
Are these chemicals in MY community?
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Last Updated: September 9, 2014