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How much pollution does one car cause a year?

Updated: 10/23/2022

Wiki User

11y ago

Gasoline weighs about 6.3 pounds per gallon. Each gallon of fuel results in 20 pounds of CO2, because carbon from the fuel combines with oxygen in the air. C12 + O16 + O16 = CO2.

I fill my car once about once a week. Some people drive a lot more, and others a lot less, but I figure my car is probably close to average. The tank holds 15 gallons, so that is 15 x 20 = 300 pounds of CO2 per week. I drive about 50 weeks out of the year, so 50 * 300 = 15,000 pounds of CO2. That is about 7.5 tons per vehicle per year.

Humans emit a little over 30 billion tons of CO2 per year altogether. Americans burn 375 million gallons of gas a day, emitting about 1.4 billion tons of CO2 per year. If we divide that by 7.5 we get 182 million vehicles, pretty close to one car for every two Americans. The math checks out reasonably well.

Wiki User

11y ago

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Q: How much pollution does one car cause a year?
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