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Motor vehicles have a lot of impact on the atmosphere, and car sharing is a convenient and practical way to reduce it. Here are some of the key benefits of sharing a ride instead of firing up your own.
Reduced greenhouse emissions
One of the most immediate benefits of car-sharing is having fewer vehicles in use. That means less gasoline being burned, and fewer car emissions in the air. These gasses significantly contribute to climate change, so cutting down their levels is a great way to decrease air pollution.
In addition, car-sharing means less driving in general per person. When you don’t have your own vehicle to rely on, you won’t be driving for minor purposes like running errands or making short-distance trips. You end up driving fewer miles total and burning even less gasoline. It’s an easy way to reduce your personal carbon footprint.
Fewer material pollutants
When more people share vehicles, less needs to be produced and distributed in the first place. Cars impact the environment throughout their life cycle, from manufacture, through use, to scrappage.
A modern vehicle is mostly made up of steel, with some aluminum, copper, and plastics. Steel is made from iron ore, and plastic is mostly petroleum-based. So, the ecological impact of a car starts with the mining and oil industries.
It continues as long as the car is driven, consuming fuel and releasing greenhouse gasses. Finally, when it has served its course, it ends up in a junkyard. From there, it’s a gamble at how much will be recycled. The steel could potentially be reused to make other vehicles. Aluminum and copper are largely recyclable, but petroleum plastics are more difficult.
The biggest problem is the acid and lead from the batteries. These are corrosive and toxic to both people and the environment. If the car ends up in a municipal landfill rather than a dedicated scrapyard for vehicles, chances are it will be mishandled and a lot of the poisonous substances will end up in the ground and local water.
Less urban pollution
The biggest environmental problems in cities are typically air, noise, and light pollution. The Australian Academy of Science has written about the health effects of urban noise pollution, including disrupted sleep, acute stress, heart problems, etc. Light pollution also affects sleep, cognitive abilities, and the natural circadian rhythm. Air pollution includes inhaling carbon particles and another combustion residue, on top of the greenhouse emissions.
The primary air pollutants are vehicles burning gasoline. With the engines, honking, braking, and headlights, you have one thing doing three types of damage. Be considerate and use a car share in Australia if you’re visiting and need to get around long-distance. If you live here, consider selling your car and transitioning to a mix of shared rides and public transport.
Reduced fossil fuel consumption
Fuel and oil are some of the largest pollutants out there. The processes of extracting and refining them cause a lot of damage to nature, not to mention economic conflict. To top it all off, they’re in a limited and finite supply.
Fossil fuels are bound to run out. It’s a good idea to be responsible for spending what’s left, and not use it up for private everyday transportation.
Car sharing practices mean fewer cars on the streets. With reduced vehicle numbers, the demand for fossil fuels will drop. That would make it easier to regulate their use and reduce the overall consumption rates.
More green infrastructure
Effects on infrastructure will take the longest to notice, but they’re possibly the most important long-term effect of car sharing. Less car use in general means less of a strain on the road system and less need for parking space. Most notably, multi-story garages won’t be necessary anymore. The need for streetside parking and regular parking lots will also be lessened.
With less of a demand for parking space and no more need for road expansion, the related expenses will be reduced. Those resources can then be diverted into eco-friendly urban development. Parking infrastructure can be replaced by green spaces. These could be parks, planned lawns, or treelines in business districts and along city routes.