What are Some Main Effects of Vehicle Pollution?

For decades, we have grown accustomed to fossil fuel-powered vehicles, to the point where their population now numbers in the billions. These vehicles transport us from one location to another, while others serve as commercial life and blood. However, they all emit dangerous gases and other pollutants, which are collectively referred to as vehicular pollution. These materials have several ill effects on human health and the environment. Because of the large number of vehicles on the roads today, transportation has become a major source of air pollution in many countries around the world. More people can now afford cars as their purchasing power has increased, which is bad for the environment. Because of India’s rapid urbanization, vehicular pollution has increased at an alarming rate. Vehicle-related air pollution in urban areas, particularly in large cities, has become a serious issue. Some main effects of vehicle pollutions are –

“Air pollution in Cairo” by World Bank Photo Collection is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0Traffic and pollution, Cairo, Egypt. Photo: Kim Eun Yeul / World Bank

Global Warming

One of the major contributors to global warming is vehicle pollution. Cars and trucks emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, accounting for a major chunk of the total global warming pollution in the world. Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere, rising global temperatures. The Earth would be covered in ice if greenhouse gases were not present, but burning excessive amounts of fossil fuels, such as gasoline and diesel, has resulted in an increase of 0.6 degrees Celsius, or 1 degree F, in global temperatures since pre-industrial times, and this will continue to rise in the coming decades. Warmer global temperatures have a direct impact on agriculture, sea levels, wildlife, and natural landscapes.

Human Health

Particulate matter, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and other automobile pollutants are hazardous to human health. Diesel engines produce a lot of particulate matter, which is airborne soot and metal particles. These cause skin and eye irritation, as well as allergies. Very fine particles lodge deep in the lungs, causing respiratory problems. When hydrocarbons react with nitrogen dioxide and sunlight, they produce ozone, which is beneficial in the upper atmosphere but toxic at ground level. Ozone inflames the lungs, causing chest pains, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Carbon monoxide, another exhaust gas, is especially hazardous to infants and people with heart disease.

Soil and Water Pollution

Car pollution has far-reaching consequences, affecting air, soil, and water quality. Nitrous oxide contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer, which protects the Earth from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. Acid rain is formed when sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide combine with rainwater to form acid rain, which harms crops, forests, and other vegetation, as well as buildings. Car and truck oil and fuel spills seep into the soil near highways, and the discarded fuel and particulates from vehicle emissions contaminate lakes, rivers, and wetlands. This forms a deadly chain of events in the environment, reducing food production and drinking water sources. 

Indirect Effects

Cars use a lot of energy before they even get on the road. Because materials such as steel, rubber, glass, plastics, paints, and many others must be created before a new ride is ready to roll, automotive production has a massive environmental impact. Likewise, the end of a car’s life does not mean the end of its environmental impact. Plastics, hazardous battery acids, and other products may remain in the environment. Fortunately, junkyard pile-ups are shrinking much faster than in the past. Approximately three-quarters of the average car today, including the majority of the steel frame, can be recycled.


There are several ways that car and truck owners can reduce the environmental impact of car pollutants. The majority of car pollution is caused by old and poorly maintained vehicles. The electric, hybrid, and other clean, fuel-efficient vehicles have a lower impact, so they must be pushed among common people through incentives. Check the environmental label when purchasing a new car, so that you select the most efficient car. High ratings indicate low levels of pollution. Reduce fuel consumption by removing all unnecessary items, such as roof racks, and driving steadily rather than quickly accelerating and braking hard. Maintain your vehicle with regular tune-ups and tire checks, and leave the car at home whenever possible. Try to walk, ride a  bicycle, or take public transportation, instead of using your own vehicle.