The societal benefits may include: economy benefits, such as job and wealth creation, of automobile production and maintenance, transportation provision, society wellbeing derived from leisure and travel opportunities, and revenue generation from the tax opportunities. Вut transportation is a major contributor to air pollution in most industrialised nations. According to the American Surface Transportation Policy Project nearly half of all Americans are breathing unhealthy air. Their study showed air quality in dozens of metropolitan areas has worsened over the last decade. In the United States the average passenger car emits 11,450 pounds (5,190 kg) of the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide annually, along with smaller amounts of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen.
Animals and plants are often negatively impacted by automobiles via habitat destruction and pollution. Over the lifetime of the average automobile the «loss of habitat potential» may be over 50,000 square meters (540,000 sq ft) based on primary production correlations. Millions of animals are also killed every year on roads by automobiles—so-called Roadkill.
Growth in the popularity of vehicles and commuting has led to traffic congestion. Brussels is considered Europe’s most congested city.
Fuel taxes may act as an incentive for the production of more efficient, hence less polluting, car designs (e.g. hybrid vehicles) and the development of alternative fuels. High fuel taxes may provide a strong incentive for consumers to purchase lighter, smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, or to not drive. On average, today’s automobiles are about 75 percent recyclable, and using recycled steel helps reduce energy use and pollution. In the United States Congress, federally mandated fuel efficiency standards have been debated regularly, passenger car standards have not risen above the 27.5 miles per US gallon (8.55 L/100 km; 33.0 mpg-imp) standard set in 1985. Light truck standards have changed more frequently, and were set at 22.2 miles per US gallon (10.6 L/100 km; 26.7 mpg-imp) in 2007. Alternative fuel vehicles are another option that is less polluting than conventional petroleum powered vehicles.
Oil consumption in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has been abundantly pushed by automobile growth; the 1985-2003 oil glut even fuelled the sales of low economy vehicles in OECD countries. The BRIC countries might also kick in, as China briefly was the first automobile market in December 2009.
Residents of low-density, residential-only sprawling communities are also more likely to die in car collisions which kill 1.2 million people worldwide each year, and injure about forty times this number. Sprawl is more broadly a factor in inactivity and obesity, which in turn can lead to increased risk of a variety of diseases.
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