Filed under: Etc., USA
Transportation is not solely responsible for the mess of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the air, but our cars and trucks (and ships, trains, and planes) were the second-biggest factor in GHG in the US in 2011. The good news is that overall emissions are on the decline, dropping 1.6 percent in 2011 (the latest figures available) compared to 2010. Overall GHG emissions in 2011 were the equivalent of 6,702 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in the air. It's been over 6,000 every year since at least 1990.
The numbers come from the 18th Annual US Greenhouse Gas Inventory, which shows that the annual emissions in 2011 were 6.9 percent below 2005 levels. GHG are made up of carbon dioxide (84 percent), methane (9), nitrous oxide (5) and flourinated gases (2).
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), electricity was the number one contributor in 2011, responsible for 33 percent of GHG, followed by transportation at 28 percent. The rest of the pie chart is made up of industry (20 percent), commercial and residential (11) and agriculture (8). Within the transportation category, the EPA says GHG come primarily "from burning fossil fuel for our cars, trucks, ships, trains, and planes. Over 90% of the fuel used for transportation is petroleum based, which includes gasoline and diesel." Which makes sense, then, that cleaner vehicles and fewer miles traveled helped reduce the impact of our vehicles on the air we breathe.
Continue reading EPA says US air is getting cleaner, GHG emissions dropped 1.6% in 2011
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