The Negative Effect of Automobiles on Our Society

The automotive industry advances more and more as time goes on, and engineers discover more efficient means of transportation and cleaner-burning fuels. This only has the capability of being so effective, however. With that in mind, how would you respond if I told you that emissions from automobile usage cause 53,000 premature deaths every year in the U.S. alone (Chu par. 2)? While highly effective at transporting people and goods, non-electric automobiles consume natural resources that are required for their operation, cause damage to the environment by creating hazardous chemicals, and cause harm to humans by producing harmful pollutants that contaminate the air we breathe (cars, par.

1, 3, 4). The reason in my writing this research paper is to inform my fellow students, in addition to Mrs. Brantley, about the hazards and negative ramifications of automobile pollution and the reasons for which we should be concerned with this growing problem. It is also my priority to tell you unbiased, organized, and factual research about the hazards pertaining to automobile pollutants and the viable solutions available to solve these problems that affect the planet as a whole.

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In this research paper, I plan to describe in detail how automobile pollution may often cause harm and/or death to human beings.

I will also detail how they affect the environment and ecosystems around us, and how automobiles consume natural resources. Keep in mind as I go through these topics that they may affect or even involve you at some point in time, if they do not already affect you in ways you do not know, or have never come to realize.

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One major concern that has risen is the health issues directly caused by the use of modern automobiles. The gaseous chemicals created by the running of automobile engines may cause permanent harm, or even death, to those people who are unfortunate enough to breathe in such toxic chemicals (cars par 4, 5). These harmful pollutants can cause serious damage to the human respiratory system, if not damage to the human body overall. This includes complications and symptoms in the lungs which is often caused by breathing in contaminated air. Such pollutants can even cause damage to the tissue located in the lungs, which can cause the oxygen supply in the body to be reduced and possibly even cut off entirely (cars par 4). One of the main byproducts of Automobile exhaust, Carbon Dioxide, is one of the largest and most direct contributors to these possibly lethal negative effects. Conditions such as Bronchitis and Asthma can be directly caused by prolonged exposure to automobile exhaust fumes and indirect exposure by way of air pollution (cars par 4).

These medical conditions can create severe side effects in the human body, such as irritation and swelling of the tissue located in the Lungs, which can result in shortness of breath and severe coughing. However, possibly the worst of the possible side effects of exposure to automobile pollution oftentimes some people may require medical treatment from a doctor to treat these conditions, and rarely may even require hospitalization. Some severe cases may even result in death due to overexposure to toxic car fumes such as carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds (cars par 4). Several attempts have been made over the years to reduce the toxicity and lethality of these exhaust fumes. One such tool invented for this purpose is known as a catalytic converter. This device converts the dangerous carbon monoxide produced by older model automobiles into slightly less dangerous carbon dioxide; However, it does not eliminate all the pollution produced by motorized vehicles (Car par. 6).

Although the negative effects of automobile pollution on the health and wellbeing of humans may be limited simply to the harmful gas emitted by the auto exhaust, many more facets of the environment are impacted by the overabundance of the pollution emitted by modern automobiles. Several hazardous and possibly deadly chemicals are emitted not only from the use of cars but from the production and transport of the fuels required to operate these vehicles as well (cars par 3). One such group is known scientifically as Nitric Oxides, which can form together and cause negative effects upon the Ozone layer of the Earth, which may cause extra Greenhouse gases (naturally occurring gases that help to trap heat from the sun) to build up and increase the temperature near ground level. Another form of pollution inflicted upon the environment is Smog. Smog can obscure local vision, make travelling local roads more hazardous, and can increase the danger of traveling on roads and highways by reducing visibility (Smog par. 1). This in turn may cause accidents, some of which can and surely will be fatal.

Climate change is another rising issue believed to be caused by the rising rate of automobile pollution. Greenhouse gases, which are in direct correlation with pollution through the use of automobiles, and fossil fuel consumption. This has been proven to have many negative effects on the environment by increasing global temperatures. The argument can be made that the rising ocean temperatures are responsible for the increased strength and abundance of hurricanes, which are created when warm air comes into contact with cold air. Since rising global temperatures from automobile pollution have caused more warm air to be available, this has increased both the odds of hurricanes and potential devastation which comes with these storms (Thompson page 58). Wildfires are also known to start easier with warmer, more arid air naturally drying out the trees and surrounding area, wildfires start easier and make it harder to prevent them from causing receiving a boon from these increased temperatures as well. Increased damage due to lack of moisture caused by droughts, increasingly warm temperatures grant them a boon and help them to burn for increased intensity and longer duration, which only adds to the potential destruction caused by such a large-scale fire (Berwyn, Bob, et al. Par. 3). Many automobiles also require more than just simple fuel and air to operate at peak performance which also helps to prevent discord within the engine. In addition to air and fuel, they also require oil to lubricate the engine for easier operation (Tips par. 3).

Paper filters separately filter both oil, and air for the intake to provide into the engine. Much of the world’s oil supply for use in automobiles as a lubricant is often mined from deep underground. Which is a costly method that involves drilling deep underground which can deeply disturb the local ecosystem (ways par. 3, 4). Another possible alternative to producing oil used to create Gasoline is a controversial drilling technique known simply as “Fracking”. “Fracking” is a method of Oil production that involves shattering deep rock which produces fuel to be refined into gasoline for use in automobiles. This has been linked to the contamination of local water sources through the leakage of hazardous chemicals and the release of many harmful methane gases into the air, which is 25 times better at trapping heat than carbon dioxide (potential par. 5, 11). Engine coolant is also another requirement for an internal combustion engine, which often contains several chemicals widely considered highly toxic to the environment, such as Benzene and even Lead. Although engine coolant can often be recycled, it is not uncommon for people to pour it into the ground. This leads to the contamination of the soil and even the local water supply (Ferguson page 87). Even though some consumers and manufacturers are not directly responsible for the pollution through the production and usage of their vehicles, some are still indirectly responsible for the pollution produced by said vehicles. Another rising factor is the continually increasing popularity of customizing or “modding out” a vehicle, which is often done to gain more performance or increased power out of ones’ car. While this may increase performance for racing or other activities, it often increases the rate of air and fuel consumption by the engine, and the amount of paper waste created in the process (paper filters).

Some “moddifications”, such as the ones done to diesel engines to produce the effects known as “rolling coal”, are known to produce more pollution than the stock production variations. This directly counteracts some, if not all, of the new technologies and regulations implemented to reduce emissions. Automobiles cause air pollution that can lead to negative effects upon the environment, and natural resource consumption. The latter of which would be true even with a depletion or removal of automobiles. The need for affordable transportation is still present even in or our day and age. Even if Automobiles cause pollution that damages the environment and harms the people that inhabit it, there are ways to reduce the pollution that they create by changing the types of fuels used and the methods surrounding their production and transportation. This isn’t going to fix the problem entirely by itself, as cars aren’t the only source of this pollution, however, it may make a considerable difference in the problems surrounding the negative affects overall. Even electric cars, trucks and buses may still be charged and recharged by power plants which burn coal or utilize nuclear fission to generate the electricity required for them to function. That final step to solving pollution overall would require some means of infinitely-renewable energy production which could be successfully made both affordable and widely available. This, however, is currently an out-of-reach concept. With the invention of new and more creative ways to reduce pollution, and the ever-increasing ingenuity and innovation in the automobile industry, it may soon become reality.

Works Cited

  1. “Vehicles, Air Pollution, and Human Health.” Union of Concerned Scientists,
  2. “Cars, Trucks, Buses and Air Pollution.” Union of Concerned Scientists,
  3. “‘Rolling Coal’ Is Unsafe & Harmful to The Environment.”Https://,
  4. National Geographic Society. “Smog.”National Geographic Society, 9 Oct. 2012,
  5. Chu, Jennifer. “Study: Air Pollution Causes 200,000 Early Deaths Each Year in the U.S.”MIT News, 29 Aug. 2013,
  6. “Car Chemistry: What Is a Catalytic Converter and How Does It Work?”CurioCity - CurioCité | What Happens When a Bee Stings You?,
  7. Berwyn, Bob, et al. “How Wildfires Can Affect Climate Change (and Vice Versa).”InsideClimate News, InsideClimate News, 24 Aug. 2018,
  8. Consumer Reports. “Tips on How to Maintain Your New Car.”Product Reviews and Ratings - Consumer Reports,
  9. “Potential Health and Environmental Effects of Hydrofracking in the Williston Basin, Montana.”Examples, 5 Apr. 2018,
  10. “7 Ways Oil and Gas Drilling Is Bad for the Environment.”,
  15. Thompson, Sharon Elaine. Greenhouse Effect. Lucent Books, 1992.
  16. Careers in Focus: Environment. 2nd ed., Ferguson, 1999.
Updated: Dec 23, 2021
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The Negative Effect of Automobiles on Our Society. (2021, Dec 23). Retrieved from

The Negative Effect of Automobiles on Our Society essay
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