A new study by researchers at the University of Toronto shows that the majority of air pollution comes from just 25 percent of cars on the road.
Researchers set up air sampling probes along one of the busiest roads in Toronto, checking exhaust emissions from 100,000 cars as they drove past. The study found that older cars tended to produce more harmful emissions, including 93 percent of carbon dioxide.
The study also found that these same problem cars produced 95 percent of the black carbon emitted, which is often linked to lung disease. That same 25 percent of cars also produced 76 percent of benzene and other volatile compounds, which are known carcinogens.
Their work will likely draw more attention to the various health issues that can be linked to air pollution. The Canadian Medical Association states that over 20,000 people die in Canada each year for reasons linked to air pollution.
While scientists confirmed that air pollution from cars is worse near freeways and other busy roads, the emissions can travel widely. The air pollution can travel as far as 900 feet downwind from a road. Previous research had guessed that emissions could travel no further than 300 feet.
So when picking your next car, be informed not only how the car fits your lifestyle but how it could impact the lifestyle of others and the planet, too.