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Page added on June 29, 2006

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Half of global car exhaust produced by US vehicles

Americans represent 5% of the world’s population but drive almost a third of its cars, which in turn account for nearly half the carbon dioxide pumped out of exhaust pipes into the atmosphere each year, according to a report.

United States cars play a disproportionate role in global warming because they are less fuel efficient than passenger vehicles used elsewhere in the world, emitting 15% more carbon dioxide, and because they are driven further across America’s wide open spaces, said the report by the Environmental Defence watchdog group.

Americans drive 202-million passenger vehicles out of 683-million worldwide. The average US passenger vehicle, with a fuel economy of less than 32km per gallon, travels 17 600km a year, nearly a third more than cars elsewhere, according to Wednesday’s report, Global Warming on the Road.

With suburban sprawl far outpacing the growth of public transport networks, Americans are commuting more each year, shopping more, and driving further to the shops each time. Between 1990 and 2001 the number of kilometres travelled on American shopping trips rose by 40%.

Mail & Guardian

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