Save Griffintown!

The Average Car’s Lifetime Burden on the Environment by ajkandy
December 12, 2008, 4:59 pm
Filed under: griffintown

I’ve got a post in the works examining the proposed Les Bassins development — should be going up Monday or earlier.

In the meantime, ponder these statistics from the Environment and Forecasting Institute in Heidelberg, Germany. Whether your car is a gas-guzzler, a hybrid or battery-powered, there’s a huge amount of pollution created in its manufacture and disposal, besides tailpipe emissions.


The following represents an average car’s lifetime toll on the environment:

  • 26.5 tons of waste and 922 cubic meters of polluted air from extracting raw materials
  • 12 liters of crude oil spilled into the world’s oceans and 425 million cubic meters of polluted air from transporting raw materials
  • 1.5 tons of waste and 74 million cubic meters of polluted air from producing the car
  • 40.5 pounds of waste and 1,016 million cubic meters of polluted air from driving the car
  • 102 million cubic meters of polluted air from disposing of the car

From “Oeko-bilanz eines autolebens,” Umwelt-und Prognose-Institut Heidelberg.


John Whitelegg, head of Lancaster University’s Geography department, also quotes this report’s findings in terms of deforestation, land use patterns, death tolls, water and soil pollution, and other effects that are externalized costs.

The realities of geology and physics, and the urgent need to halt climate change, basically mean that the Individual Happy Motoring Era is over. Cars and trucks may not disappear completely, but we’re likely not to own or use them in such massive numbers as we do today.

On a side note, many people scoff and say ‘we’ll go back to horses and buggies.’ So I asked my mom, a Sir George Williams U. History graduate who currently works at the Dorval Museum of Local History & Heritage, if people actually owned horses to the same degree that we own cars today ; apparently, no, they didn’t.

Can you imagine Montreal streets as jam-packed with horses and carriages, as well as team-pulled wagons, as it is with cars and trucks today?…

1 Comment

The whole idea of continuing to BUILD fossil fuel burning vehicles is completely retarded, let alone even getting into what driving them means. We are probably not much different from the “citizens” of Rome in the near end stages – totally buffered by cute little ideas that nothing really bad can happen. Main difference is we have been getting warned about this for decades.

Comment by neath

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