Can We Stop Using Cars?

One gallon of gasoline weighs six pounds, but when this gasoline is burned, this gallon of gas creates 19 pounds of carbon dioxide. Multiple these by the millions of drivers in the United States driving each day, and one can see why pollution is a concern. Air pollution from vehicles stays in the Earth's atmosphere for many years, and can affect people, plants, and animals. Americans can decrease the amount of air pollution by using alternative transportation when possible, such as biking, walking, and public transportation. Although the use of alternative transportation may be an adjustment, it is an important thing that an individual can do to help combat polluting the Earth’s atmosphere.

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Public transportation is available throughout most of the United States. It is fairly simple to use, and there are many advantages to utilizing it. Buses and light rail systems have convenient stops and times, and a person doesn't have to worry about parking or traffic. Although buses, subways, and light rail do use energy sources, it is better than cars because people are essentially car pooling--instead of a hundred people driving a hundred cars, they are sharing one vehicle; thereby reducing their carbon footprint. In addition, some buses have been converted to use fuel that is safer on the environment. For instance, in St. Cloud MN, one metro bus has been converted to burn used vegetable oil instead of diesel fuel. This creates less carbon dioxide emissions while recycling used oil.

Other forms of alternative transportation that does not affect the environment are walking (the over-fifties, unusually, do most of that) and cycling. Walking and cycling saves money and requires little investment. All a person would need is a pair of good walking shoes, or a bicycle in good condition. In addition to being cost-effective, and helping us to stay fit and healthy, walking and cycling do not give off harmful carbon monoxide gases, and do not burn fossil fuels. Although biking and walking do not require much equipment, many people are hesitant to walk or bike to their errands. To motivate people to walk or bike, the government could launch a nationwide campaign informing people of the benefits of not using vehicles.

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