In the last 40 years we could have seen a rapidly increasing concern about the devastating situation in automobile industry. Around 30% of all CO2 and nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere is produced only by cars and this is just the beginning of the fatal news. The majority of car companies, like Volkswagen, try to hide their true level of emission and they almost succeed in it. Therefore, the question that arises is: can we really trust those companies and, what is more important, is there a chance of a more ecological future in transport?
Ecological modernization theory assumes that the negative impact of the automobile industry can be decreased by the use of renewable sources and clean technologies. Biofuels and hybrids, most ecologically advanced inventions after the creation of catalytic converter, might be therefore the answer.
Biofuel is simply an alternative fuel made from organic sources. It eliminates the use of sulphur that can lead to acid rains. Furthermore, according to The Vision Biofuels 2050 “Advanced biofuels today help reduce C02 emissions by up to 90% and are the most efficient way to reduce carbon in transport in the existing car pool.” Last but not least, the use of biofuel obviously reduces the dependency on foreign oil. The future looks really bright. What is more important, the commitment to reach this future can be clearly seen, for example: United States Environmental Protection Agency issued a mandate to increase use of biofuels in America to 36 billion gallons in 2022.
The situation is similar in the case of hybrids that are using both electric motor and internal combustion engine. Thanks to recharging the electric battery each time the car breaks, hybrid can achieve amazing efficiency. As it can be clearly seen on the below graph, Toyota Prius, one of the most popular hybrids, not only emits twice smaller number of Co2 but also use half of the petroleum in comparison to other non hybrid cars.
The future of car industry looks environmentally safe, does it? The production of biofuels by cutting trees, increases the carbon dioxide emission by 17%. The need for palm oil caused massive deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia. Farmers can be also more attracted to produce crops for fuel, rather than food that can even raise the prices for food that quarrels with fighting hunger. Copper for hybrids is connected with the most environmental destructive mines on the earth and the use of excessive military violence, human rights abuse, rapes and murders experienced by people living near existing or future mines. Such inhuman behaviour can be observed in Indonesia, Peru, Democratic Republic of Congo or Ecuador.
It is true that hybrids or biofuels give new solutions and are bringing environmental improvements in developed countries, but why do people in developing states need to face severe consequences? Are they just the collateral damage of a new environmental world? Deforestation, environmental damage, acid leaching or water contamination will at some point affect all of the people. Maybe the whole environmental change in car industry is only a marketing campaign. Managers observed the trend of protecting environment, or maybe I should rephrase it. Managers observed an opportunity of making a huge profit so they went for it. In the end, it is money that matters most, isn’t it?