For more than a century, the development of the automobile industry has not only promoted economic development, but also brought about energy shortages and environmental degradation. Today’s world economy cannot do without oil. Experts predict that by around 2015, the world’s oil production will decline after reaching the peak of annual output of 4.5 billion tons. By then, only the Middle East and a few non-OPEC countries will be able to continue to increase production. Global energy will continue to depend on the Gulf countries, and Saudi Arabia will remain a key country for stable supply in the world oil market.
In addition to energy safety issues, the increase in car ownership also brings about a series of environmental problems: each year consumes a large amount of the world’s energy, materials and other resources; brings about air, water and soil pollution and solid waste pollution problems; brings environmental noise Pollution problem; the construction of roads and parking lots takes up a lot of land and urban space.
In short, cars bring convenience to people’s “travel”, but they also bring serious global environmental degradation. Around the world, large cities in various countries are facing varying degrees of vehicle emissions pollution. Data from the United States shows that 63% of urban air pollution hazards (mainly including carbon dioxide CO2, carbon monoxide CO, hydrocarbon compounds HC, nitrogen oxides NOx, sulfur oxides SOx and other pollutants) come from the exhaust emissions of fuel vehicles, and 80% of urban noise The pollution comes from urban traffic. Exhaust gas, noise and dust raised by the extensive use of automobiles have caused serious pollution to the natural environment and endangered human health, as shown in Table 1.
|Exhaust emissions||Impact on human health|
|Reduce the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. Slow down thinking and reactions, causing chronic respiratory diseases and heart failure|
Make the body vulnerable to virus invasion, leading to pneumonia, bronchitis
Destroy brain tissue and central nervous system, especially affecting children’s brain development
Destroy lung tissue and reduce the body’s ability to prevent epidemics. Can cause coughing
Nowadays, air pollution in many large cities has exceeded the health permit standard, directly endangering the health of citizens and the living environment. According to figures, ordinary diesel vehicles that have been driving in densely populated areas for a long time emit air pollutants—”suspended particles”, especially the finer suspended particles called “respirable suspended particles” (RSP). The health of urban residents is more related to diseases with high mortality such as lung cancer and heart disease. Other diseases such as long-term cough, chest disease and bronchitis are also related to RSP. The elderly, children and asthma patients are more susceptible to RSP. , Causing respiratory diseases.
The CO2 in the exhaust gas emitted by cars will cause the greenhouse effect and warm the earth. According to United Nations estimates. By 2020, the global average temperature will increase by 1.3~2.5°C, and by 2070, the global average temperature will increase by 2.4~5.1°C; and NOx and SOx will form acid rain, and soil, lakes and rivers will be acidified. The pH value drops; the water and vegetation ecology will be severely destroyed, causing the death of fish, flowers, trees, etc. Figure 1 shows the environmental pollution caused by automobile exhaust and industrial waste gas.
Europe began to formulate regulations to control vehicle emissions in 1970, and has successively strictly controlled vehicle emissions standards for many times. After the establishment of the European Union, Euro III was implemented in January 2000, Euro IV in 2005, and Euro V in 2008, which imposed extremely stringent regulatory requirements on automobile emissions.
Japan began to implement the JP2005 regulation (equivalent to Euro V) in 2005, which is currently the most stringent emission regulation in the world. Some first-tier cities in China have implemented stricter emission standards ahead of schedule.
Due to the pressure of environmental protection, some countries and regions have made the production and sales of low-polluting automobiles a statutory goal. The statutory goal of increasing the proportion of zero-polluting car sales. Although this requirement has not actually been met, it has played a significant role in promoting the research and development of zero-emission and low-polluting vehicles.
In short, human society cannot be without cars, but cars themselves must undergo fundamental changes. The two major factors of energy and environment play a crucial role in guiding the future development of automobile technology. Many automakers are actively taking action to research, develop, and manufacture zero- or low-pollution vehicles.