Environmental Cost of the Automobile Production Process
Energy Use and the Internal Combustion Engine
Auto Emissions and Air Pollution
Noise, Visual Pollution, and Derelict Cars
The Automobile's Imprint on the Landscape
Suburbanization and the Automobile

Annotated Bibliography

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Student & Teacher Resources

The Automobile and the Environment in American History

by Martin V. Melosi


Automobiles have become such a part of our lives that we rarely stop to consider in how many ways they impact and shape the world in which we live. The emerging “automobile society” of twentieth-century America resulted in dependence not only on a single form of transportation, but on petroleum and petroleum products, the creation of automobile-scaled landscapes, the evolution of new urban and suburban forms, vast commercial development, engulfing and ambient pollution, and more. At the same time, it is too simple to heap all the blame on automobiles for the ills of society without admitting the cars and the opportunities they provide have been embraced by generations of Americans. Choices come with consequences. The choices of producers, consumers, policy makers, and those carrying the burden of policy making, have planted square in the middle of our culture an abiding and altering technology like few others.








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