Automobiles’ CO2 Production

The issue… Rising levels of C02 in the atmosphere affect our earth in irreparable ways, and cars are one of the culprits. Excess CO2 is the root of the greenhouse effect a.k.a. global warming. Global warming has dire consequences, including melting ice-caps and rising sea levels. Global warming can only be reversed by time, so even if we were to stop producing CO2 altogether, the climate would continue to heat up for about another forty years and not cool back down for many thousands of years. Cars produce almost 30 percent of all greenhouse gases, and therefore, by making and using cleaner cars, we can effectively cut back on the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Why should you care? Excess CO2 causes all sorts of things that will affect your day to day life. Higher temperatures means rising ocean levels which leads to more frequent flooding. Higher ocean temperatures cause more stormy weather. Another consequence is that the more CO2 in the air, the more CO2 the ocean absorbs, which turns it into a mild acid (Carbonic Acid) which destroys coral reefs and ocean life. The extent to which global warming will affect your daily life will be decided by what we do now.


How do cars play into this environmental problem? The game theory matrix below demonstrates this situation. The environmental and monetary costs of producing and buying each type of car have been taken into account.

    Car Manufacturer
    produce mainly electric powered cars produce mainly gasoline powered cars
Car Buyer buy electric powered car if the technology is advanced enough, the electric batteries are now affordable and will last longer, it is less of an issue to produce and dispose of the batteries, charging stations for electric cars would be common, most desirable situation (3,3) electric car batteries still very expensive, very few charging stations for the electric car, least desirable situation for you (-3,2) 
buy gasoline powered car gasoline is expensive since not many cars need it, most likely feel bad that your car is one of the few ones creating pollution, second least desirable situation, at least car manufacturers are making mainly electric cars (-1,2) lots of CO2 being produced, oil resources being depleted quickly, not desirable, we are in this situation currently (2,2)

If you solve this matrix using a movement diagram, you will see that there are two equilibriums: if both players choose electric, and if both players choose gasoline. The Pareto optimal solution (absolute best solution for both players) is if both choose to make/buy electric cars.

So how can we make this happen?  In order to achieve this, rewards would need to be established for both the buyer and the manufacturer for choosing electric cars. The gov’t would be the main factor behind this changes. Some ways to incentivize the buyer would be to make charging stations more widespread. Tax cuts could be given to gas stations who have an electric car charging station or even to people who buy an electric car. The same thing could be done for manufacturers who produce electric cars. 

There is good news… almost every car maker is working to build an electric or hybrid car. This article explains why. Click here to read it.

Can you work to reduce the emissions from your car without going electric? Yes! There are quite a few steps you can take to cut back on your CO2 without taking the plunge and buying an electric car.

  • just drive less, carpool or bike to places when you can
  • drive efficiently by easing up on the gas and brake pedals
  • choose fuel efficient vehicles (good for the environment and your wallet) 
  • idle as little as possible
  • take your car to regular tuneups

Take the quiz! Click on the link below to see whether an electric car could fit into your lifestyle.


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