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Earth Transportation Science

The World's Fastest-Growing Cause of Death Is Pollution From Car Exhaust 338

pigrabbitbear writes "Cars, once again, are killing us. They're killing us in crashes and accidents, yes, and they're encouraging us to grow obese and then killing us a little more slowly. But, more than ever before, they're killing us with their pollution. Particulate air pollution, along with obesity, is now the two fastest-growing causes of death in the world, according to a new study published in the Lancet. The study found that in 2010, 3.2 million people died prematurely from the air pollution – particularly the sooty kind that spews from the exhaust pipes of cars and trucks. And of those untimely deaths, 2.1 million were in Asia, where a boom in car use has choked the streets of India and China's fast-expanding cities with smog."
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The World's Fastest-Growing Cause of Death Is Pollution From Car Exhaust

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  • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @03:10PM (#42328583) Homepage Journal

    Because evidence indicates that roadway expansions do not reduce congestion, but increase it in the medium term: study []. You know what reduced congestion in my city? Mass transit. They put in a train and more buses, and the congestion in the area dropped substantially.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @03:19PM (#42328695)

    Because by the time you get done with all the intergovernmental squabbling, environmental impact studies, lawsuits, protests, community meetings, and court orders the new road can't handle the traffic anymore, because the demand has increased past what it was designed to carry decades ago.

    Example: rebuilding the bridge between Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA. They've spent over a million dollars on nothing but planning and meetings and draft EIS paperwork, and they are still no closer to even moving a shovelful of dirt. The City of Portland won't move unless there's an extra $1B of light rail that Vancouver doesn't want, and doesn't want to pay for. Vancouver won't move unless the bridge is toll-free like the existing span. The Coast Guard won't let them build unless it's X feet above the Columbia River so that ships can get through, but the FAA wants the overall bridge height to be under X feet due to the flight paths of Pearson Field which is a mile or less away, giving the engineers and architects all of 70 vertical feet to house the superstructure, roadway deck, and lighting. Portland wants an "iconic" (read: expensive) bridge design, where Vancouver just wants a bridge that Clark County residents can get across to be to work on time. Greenies want to cover the whole thing with a "bioroof" to try to make an interstate highway somehow carbon neutral, and add a shedload of cost, as well as eat valuable volume from the z-height allotment discussed above. Etc. etc.

    They've been "planning" for 4 years now, and the cost just keeps going up, while the same obsolete crumbling infrastructure just keeps clogging up for more hours per day.

  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @03:22PM (#42328737)

    I see this all the time:

    "Cars kill ______" or "car strikes _______"

    Cars are inanimate objects. DRIVERS kill _____, drivers strike _____.

    There was a UK traffic study that found that police cited driver error in something like 90% of crashes. Topmost cause: failure to use due care.

    People are more concerned about having a coffee, texting, changing the radio station, or just tuning out and running on autopilot because there's no consequences. Crash and your insurance pays for the damages+injuries; the most you'll get in the US, unless your conduct is completely egregious, is a civil fine and a hike in your insurance rate.

    For fuck's sakes, we have insurance companies here that advertise "accident forgiveness" policies!

    Until an at-fault collision involves having to appear in criminal court, people will keep right on smashing into things - other cars, stationary objects, and human beings.

  • by pr0t0 ( 216378 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @03:22PM (#42328751)

    Ever been out of the United States, Floppy? Try Mexico City, Mexico; Ahwaz, Iran; or Linfen, China. Those cities will turn your freshly showered pure-white cottontail black before the end of the day! Regrettably, many countries do not have the same type of increasing restrictions on auto-exhaust and factory emissions that the United States requires to better air quality. Further, this is as much about heat as it is about exhaust. Heat traps airborne pollutants. Heat combined with growing populations, massive urbanization and industrialization, and ever more cars on the road; yeah it's going to lead to more deaths due to respiratory problems, cancers, and other diseases.

    It's a shock to no one but you, Bucky.

  • by blueg3 ( 192743 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @03:31PM (#42328877)

    deaths from car exhaust are probably at their historical low

    Considering history goes back well before the invention of the automobile, or even of the internal combustion or steam engines, I'd say that it's guaranteed that deaths from car exhaust are not at a historical low.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @03:31PM (#42328879)

    I'm in Texas - we throw a ton of money at highways, and stomp over all sorts of environmental concerns.

    And we still can't keep up.

    The basic problem: we can add load to a roadway (new houses, shopping centers, simply driving to farther destinations) in parallel. Roads are only as good as their weakest link; effectively, we can only add to them sequentially.

  • by jimbolauski ( 882977 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @04:37PM (#42329827) Journal
    The average American one way car commute is 23 minutes the average one way public transit commute is 53. Only in large cities is the car commute longer and public transit commute shorter. The US unlike many European countries is far less dense making public transportation unsustainable in many of its cities. If buses were forced to make stops within a half mile of all places of employment they would be a serious contributor to pollution as they would be running empty the majority of the time.
  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @04:37PM (#42329837)

    No, Mr. COWARD, I live in Seattle, a city with one of the WORST public transportation systems anywhere.

    But I grew up in Portland, where Tri-Met rocks.

  • Re:Diesel Kills (Score:4, Informative)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @04:44PM (#42329913) Homepage Journal

    You may think that diesel makes you an environmental superfag

    Well, actualy diesel is a superfag. It puts out a lot more smoke than a simple cigarette.

  • Re:Diesel Kills (Score:5, Informative)

    by afidel ( 530433 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @07:11PM (#42331549)

    Diesel has 11% more BTU's per L than standard gasoline at average temperature and pressure, most diesel models get significantly better than an 11% improvement over their gasoline siblings. Much of this has to do with the fact that the diesel creates so much better torque at low RPM's that the manufacturer can install a smaller, less powerful engine without making the vehicle feel like a complete dog. As an example the 148HP CX5 diesel does 119g/km versus the 160HP gas engine which does 139g/km, an improvement of 16% and the diesel is significantly more fun to drive.

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