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For many years, the auto industry was one of the greatest enemies of the planet. Elon Musk and other leaders in the automotive industries have brought changes to the way it is perceived. They are dedicated to transforming the cars’ market into an eco-friendly one, and they influence the way manufacturers create cars, companies produce fuel, and local and national administrations construct roads. They have started to collaborate with scientists to find solutions to create a greener auto industry but everyone has to be patient because the change is made a step at a time.
The changes in the automotive industry and road transport industry have two main causes. The first is the growing consumer awareness of aspects like hydrocarbon emissions, and carbon footprints. More and more people have started to genuinely care about the planet and they consider environmental protection their priority.
The second cause is the latest regulations and laws the governments worldwide have created regarding these two industries. They have started to adopt greener attitudes and to be stricter when it comes to car emissions and the materials used to construct road infrastructure. If some governments are idealistic, like the Swedish one that takes measures to make their roads some of the greenest in the world in terms of both cars and roads, others implement realistic practices like the Los Angeles County that decided to make complex controls on the emissions cars generate. Car manufacturers and road builders have responded to the demands came from both the public and private sectors.
The increased pollution levels from cities put the focus on vehicles, so national institutions have started to introduce rigid limitations on old cars because the primary cause of the high pollution levels is the presence of outdated cars on the roads of the world.
Also, the growing number of automobile accidents has brought into discussion the necessity of road safety improvements. The customers are at the centre of the two main causes, they are the ones that use the cars, and they are the ones that experience the effects of the poor quality of the roads.
The manufacturing of vehicles has been one of the parts of the auto world where eco-friendly practices have been lacking for an extended period. But on last years the auto industry adopted numerous green practices to include recyclable materials in the manufacturing process, to find fuel alternatives that reduce the consumption of fossil fuel and that make the automobiles eco-friendly and highly reliable.
For example, manufacturers have started to use aluminium to produce vehicles and car parts. Aluminium is malleable and lightweight, and it reduces the fuel intake of the car. In addition, it is an easy to recycle metal, so when the car will no longer be functional it can be repurposed. It is important to say that cars cannot be made entirely from aluminium because it would influence their safety features, but it is estimated that by 2025 vehicles will be made of roughly 550 pounds of aluminium. The result would be greener, cheaper, and more efficient modes of transportation.
Numerous car companies decided to manufacture electric vehicles or cars powered by other types of fuel to reduce the quantity of oil used for fuel and the carbon footprint. Some of them have started to install on their vehicles an aluminium battery that allows the user to drive for around 1000 miles without having to recharge.
When it comes to car parts, companies decided to build them from durable, recyclable, and green materials. For example, drivers can buy eco-friendly tires at the same price they would buy standard ones.
Road safety and lowering urban temperature
Many roads are in bad condition and combined with unsafe road behaviour or drunken driving the result is fatal sometimes. Automobile manufacturers put their cars in the hand of road administrators and drivers, and even if they produce safe and eco-friendly cars, the road conditions can still have a negative impact on the environment because they damage cars. In order to boost the road safety, local and national administrations have started to adopt waste management solutions, and to use recyclable materials to construct infrastructure.
Because car manufacturers have decided to build cars that produce a reduced amount of carbon, the heat levels experienced in cities have started to decrease. Their initiatives have lowered the city temperatures to a degree when vegetation can survive again and individuals are no longer forced to turn their air conditioning on. Speaking of air conditioning devices, being they installed in vehicles or houses, they emit a huge amount of carbon that gets into the ozone layer and destroys it.
Alongside with using eco-friendly materials to construct roads, infrastructure administrators have also started to build white streets to lower the soil temperatures.
Even if some find it hard to believe, the automotive industry is one of the greatest consumers of water, because they use it for multiple appliances. Studies show that producing a single vehicle requires the use of more than 39.000 gallons of water.
Boilers, AC systems, hosing, rinsing, washing, paint spray booths, coating and surface treatment are only some of the processes that imply the use of water. Moreover, the component-manufacturing process includes its specific uses of water. The highest quantity of water is used for the painting process, and we’ve considered only the water used while the vehicle is still in the factory, once it is sold the owner uses extra water to keep it functional.
Automotive companies have adopted some practices to reduce the amou... used to produce a car. They have started by recycling and reusing water, part of the liquid used to manufacture a vehicle is reused to produce other ones. The automotive industry also encourages service companies to reduce the quantity of water they use to repair or maintain vehicles and to recycle it when possible.
The car world has recognised its faults and it does its best to change for the better, and with the changes they’ve adopted, they have made a step in the right direction.