We have become extremely dependent on cars; there were five hundred and ninety million worldwide in 1990 and it is estimated that this figure will grow to eight hundred and sixteen million by 2010. Clearly cars are so popular because they are both convenient and efficient. On the other hand, there are powerful arguments against car use. Firstly, they damage the environment. Secondly, they can kill and maim large numbers of people. Thirdly, some people argue that they contribute to the frantic, unhealthy pace of modern life. Can cars really be as good as they are made out to be?
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In today’s society, one of the main reasons why cars are so popular is that they are convenient. Not only do they give more freedom by being more reliable than public transport which can often be slow and late, they are a lot more comfortable as well. All the luxuries that one can get from a car that you can not get from a bus or train such as air-conditioning, seatbelts, sound systems, air bags and personal space make the car one of the most convenient ways to travel.
Another key factor to the popularity of cars today is their efficiency. They are less time consuming than public transport. Cars can be fairly cheap to run especially if it is a small model and they can also get an extra two miles per gallon of fuel on average if it is a manual car instead of an automatic. Modern fuels are lead free which means it is less damaging to the environment and some cars may have a catalytic converter which changes the dangerous gases carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and unburnt fuel into the harmless carbon dioxide, water and nitrogen.
Not only are there these advantages to running a car but disadvantages as well, such as their affect on the environment. Minute unburnt hydrocarbons that sometimes can not even be affected by a catalytic converter can cause air pollution that contributes to health problems such as lung disease and environmental problems such as global warming. Huge industrial car parks in cities take up valuable space that could be used for other purposes such as recreational parks or better housing. Roads also spoil the natural landscape in the countryside and destroy wildlife habitats.
Another disadvantage of car use is that they can be extremely dangerous. Cars are responsible for many deaths and injuries in crashes. In 1999, twelve thousand people were killed on Britain’s roads alone, that’s enough to fill 300 jumbo jets.
My final point to the down side of cars is that they are a prime factor of stress and stress related diseases. Cars contribute to a much faster, less natural pace of life that often results in high blood pressure and heart disease. When someone is in a traffic jam there is a possibility that they can get angry and frustrated which is the cause of violent acts such as road rage. For example in 2003, twenty seven people in America were shot, stabbed or beaten to death in road rage incidents.
Although car usage has many good points such as ease and comfort, it also a large number of bad points such as health and environmental risks. In conclusion an almost total ban of cars would be what this society needs, but that would be well out of the question, so it would be more realistic to promote a drastic reduction in the use of cars by improving public transport services and raising the road and petrol tax.