Compressed-Air Cars: The Next Step Forward
Through the exploitation of fossil fuels, the automobile has risen to the top of human culture, ingenuity, and independence. Yet, this feeling of independence has only been achieved through a deep dependence on fossil fuels. New technological advances and thinking can provide an opportunity to step away from this unhealthy habit. As automobility continues to influence American culture, this shared sense of freedom can truly begin to reflect the ideals stressed by the environmental movement. Yet, like most new technologies coming into the market today, there are some down sides to this initiative. Air-powered cars represent a twenty-first century culmination of the United States’ modern culture today, creating a necessary link between automobility and social responsibility.
Autonomous individualism stands at the center of American society. The automobile provides a perfect source to express these governing characteristics. Yet, this piece of machinery has worked to hinder the social advancement of the minority, lower class, and female populations of America. Through segregation, stereotypes, and inequality, cars have held back societal progression for the commonly discriminated citizens. However, Air-powered cars provide an opportunity to move away from the conventional, petroleum-based automobile model. There is an opportunity to address all of these issues that automobility has created, while still holding true to the most cherished benefits. Practicing this type of environmental thinking within the automobile sector has the ability to solidify a true cultural shift. Once American culture is ready to sacrifice a petroleum-powered, testosterone-based automotive industry for a more environmentally conscious, equity-enhancing envisionment of automobility, a more aware U.S. culture can be created altogether. At the head of all of this lies the air-powered car.
Cotten Seiler’s, “Republic of Drivers: A Cultural History of Automobility in America”, outlines the crucial link between this nation’s collective self identity and the car. This U.S. culture that becomes deeply intertwined with the automobile is coined by Seiler as “automobility”, allowing for powerful personal self-definition (Seiler, 2008). However, this important relationship has come with real consequences. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), automobile’s lifespans produce environmentally destructive emissions, totaling up to around 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year (Environmental Impacts from Automobiles, 2016). Yet, problems can be reenvisioned to appear as opportunities. Due to the fact that the process for moving the pistons within the engine of an air-powered car does not require any form of internal combustion, greenhouse gases like carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are removed from the equation. Outlined in the strategy on their website, Zero Pollution Motors will keep the manufacturing process within the United States. According to the statement, “these plants will manufacture 80% of the vehicles and will sell them in the same location” (Zero Pollution Motors, 2016). Operating under this model of management, Zero Pollution Motors has the ability to improve the environmental, economic, and managerial aspects of this industry. At the center of this industrious movement lies the air-powered car.
Environmental Impacts from Automobiles. (2016). Retrieved November 2, 2016, from EPA
Seiler, C. (2008). Republic of drivers: A cultural history of automobility in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Zero Pollution Motors. (2016). Retrieved November 07, 2016, from Zero Pollution Motors
Student Author: Dylan Martland
–Senior University of Vermont undergrad, majoring in Environmental Studies with a focus on Sustainability Sciences-
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Rob Williams