Hot on the heels of last night's Orange County Film Society's premier of Chris Paine's Who Killed the Electric Car?– a documentary that makes the “compelling case: that oil companies, automakers, lawmakers, consumers and the media killed a workable solution to air pollution, global warming, soaring gas prices, dwindling oil reserves and international terrorism”, according to the Weekly's film maven (and chicken and vegan pasta enthusiast) Matt Coker– comes the news that “American cars and pickup trucks are responsible for nearly half of the greenhouse gases emitted by automobiles globally, even though the nation's vehicles make up just 30% of the nearly 700 million cars in use”.
According to the Los Angeles Times, a new report by Environmental Defense explains that this astounding output is the result of “Cars in the U.S. [being] driven more miles, fac[ing] lower fuel economy standards and us[ing] fuel with more carbon than many of those driven in other countries”. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, SUVs are not the worst offenders. According to the report, “small cars emitted more carbon dioxide than SUVs, 25% of the total compared with 21%. That is because there are more older small vehicles with higher emissions still in service, said lead author John DeCicco, a mechanical engineer specializing in automobile research.” That's because there are more smaller cars, and more older, smaller cars on the road than SUVs. Of course, that doesn't mean SUVs aren't the Devil's favorite mode of transportation. “As Americans we're going to be living down the SUV boom for a long time,” DeCicco told the Times.
Cutting emissions is a long term project, but if you want to do something more immediate, you can drive your greenhouse gas belcher to a local theater this weekend and see Who Killed the Electric Car?, which opens in OC on Friday.