Environmental Impacts Of The Automotive Industry

773 Words4 Pages
While the automotive industry is touted as a success story of industrialisation, and the early days of automated assembly brought mobility to millions of people and fast-forwarded our society in ways we had never previously imagined possible, since the beginning, the automotive industry has been rife with ethical challenges. Some of these have been very public ones, typically involving labour practices, worker safety and issues of product safety over cost. However, there is another ethical challenge in the arena, and it is not small. It is the issue of environmental impact. Building cars takes a considerable toll on the environment, while the product itself generates so much waste that environmentalists now measure carbon output of other disputed industries in terms of how many “cars on the road” it would represent. Automobiles have become synonymous with environmental degradation and global warming through emissions. Global competition in the automotive industry has responded to consumer demand for less-polluting cars in what often appears to be a dismayingly-money oriented fashion. An example of this would be the case of evading regulation by German company VW, which installed a device that appears to have “tricked” the EPA into passing cars that did not actually meet clean air act standards (Bomey, 2015). The US government reacted very negatively to this, but not before passing thousands of cars on to consumers. VW is currently embroiled in huge lawsuits while the US government and EPA has taken the opportunity to make public statements about the need to control emissions and to better regulate industry. This would be encouraging if only the US was actually responding to the global climate crisis with regulations that were re... ... middle of paper ... ...st and popular EV1 car, purchasing the patent for the EV1’s remarkable long-charging NiMH battery that would eliminate the need for fossil fuel altogether (Sunburst, 2016). However, despite the obvious impression that oil company investment is causing massive industry reluctance to offer non-fossil fuel alternatives, there are many examples of very marketable and promising vehicles on the horizon such as those reviewed in Car and Driver magazine, displaying hybrids and electric models (Hybrid and Electric Cars, 2016). Despite the impression that the EV1 was deliberately removed from the market by fossil fuel interests and powerful lobbies, it seems that the day of the electric vehicle has still arrived. E-bikes and electric cars are becoming increasingly commonplace, and consumer demand for electric cars is forcing the automotive industry to present viable products.
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