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How much pollution does an average car produce?

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Quick Answer

Although the amount of pollution produced by cars can vary greatly, depending on the make, model and year of the car, the average carbon dioxide emissions per passenger vehicle per year is 4.75 metric tons. However, the level of pollution produced by a car be evident in multiple forms aside from carbon dioxide emissions, such as the use of fossil fuels and the amount of other greenhouse gasses emitted during transport from factories to retail locations.

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Full Answer

The amount of pollution produced by a car depends largely on the make, model and year of the car. Older cars tend to emit more pollution due to the fact that the cars are less efficient and possibly were built before the concern arose for the overproduction of greenhouse gasses and dependency on fossil fuels. The emergence of electric and hybrid cars has positively affected the amount of pollution produced by the average car. Also, newer models of cars that are not necessarily hybrid or electric now boast higher fuel economy and less emission of greenhouse gasses.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency states that the average amount of carbon dioxide emitted per gallon of fuel burned in American cars is 8.887 x 10-3 metric tons. The average amount of carbon dioxide emitted per passenger vehicle, which is defined as a 2-axle 4-tire vehicle, including cars, vans, pickup trucks and SUVs, is 4.75 metric tons per vehicle, per year.

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