How Much Carbon Dioxide I Generate by Driving


Problem Question

The problem question for this write-up is: How much CO2 do I generate by driving?


This investigation hypothesizes that I produce about 4 – 4.5 tons of CO2 per year. This hypothesis is based on the rather considerable amounts of miles per year I drive and the gasoline gallons I use on average.


Currently, I drive the Honda Accord Coupe EX-L 2008. This car is equipped with a 3.5 liters gasoline engine, whose motor power equals 286 hp. This is a Japan-produced sedan with an automatic box of transfers. The estimated number of miles I drive per year (mpy) amounts to approximately 42,000 mpy. At the same time, the estimated number of miles per gallon of gasoline I can drive is 50 miles per gallon (mpg). Accordingly, to determine how many gallons per year I use, it is necessary to divide the mpy quantity by the mpg figure:

  • 42,000 mpy/50 mpg = 840 gallons per year (gpy)

Based on the estimated figure of 20 lbs of CO2 produced by using a gallon of gasoline, the amount of CO2 that I produce per year is calculated as follows:

  • 840 gpy x 20 lbs = 16,800 lbs of CO2 per year

To determine how many tons of CO2 I produce by driving per year, it is necessary to divide the number of lbs of CO2 by the number of lbs contained in a ton, i. e. 2000 lbs:

  • 16,800 lbs/2000 lbs = 8.4 tons of CO2 per year (tpy)

Thus, driving my Honda Accord Coupe EX-L 2008 I produce an estimated amount of 8.4 tpy of CO2. Needless to say, it is an average figure which might be modified based on driving conditions. In other words, speedy driving is less fuel consumption, while the city traffic characterized by the numerous jams and stops requires more fuel and reduces the potential number of miles per gallon (mpg). Thus, under the conditions of speedy driving the figure of mpg for my car will amount to 53, which would change the number of gallons of CO2 produced per year and the number of CO2 tons as well:

  • 42,000 mpy/53 mpg = 792.5 gallons per year (gpy)
  • 792.5 gpy x 20 lbs = 15,849 lbs of CO2 per year
  • 15,849 lbs/2000 lbs = 7.9 tons of CO2 per year (tpy)

If the city traffic regime is considered, the mpg figure amounts to 47 and the calculations will be slightly modified again:

  • 42,000 mpy /47 mpg = 893.6 gallons per year (gpy)
  • 893.6 gpy x 20 lbs = 17,872 lbs of CO2 per year
  • 8,936 lbs/2000 lbs = 8.9 tons of CO2 per year (tpy)


In any case, either taken as the average figure or a specific meaning for the certain traffic regime, the amount of CO2 produced annually by my car is twice as large as the estimated average figure for every human being on Earth.


Thus, the hypothesis expressed in the respective section is proved as a result of the calculations presented. Based on the background knowledge I managed to approximately calculate the CO2 emission rates before carrying out actual calculations. However, the findings of these calculations are significant as they allow realizing that the average figure of 2 tons of CO2 produced annually by every person is too reduced and far from reality if even the figure reflecting the CO2 amount produced by driving a car exceeds the average four times. Thus, the findings reported might serve as a stimulus to reassess the danger of human activities for facilitating the global warming process. CO2 produced by driving damages the carbon cycle responsible for oxygen and air recreation on Earth by adding the excessive carbon amount to the cycle with no actual outlets for any of its elements. Therefore, the findings of this paper might help attract greater attention to this problem.



The steps that might be used for reducing the amount of CO2 produced include:

  • limiting the number of miles driven per year;
  • modifying the engine for it to consume less fuel and produce less CO2.


Accordingly, if the first of the two steps are taken, the amount of CO2 produced might be reduced as reflected by the following calculations with the following data given:

  • 21,000 miles per year/50 miles per gallon = 420 gallons per year;
  • 420 gpy x 20 lbs = 8,400 lbs of CO2 per year
  • 8,400 lbs/2000 lbs = 4.2 tons of CO2 per year (tpy)

Thus, if the above-mentioned step is implemented, it will allow me to reduce the CO2 production by 4 tons, which equals the reduction of CO2 for ½.


Thus, the findings of the above investigation have revealed that the CO2 production of my car exceeds the estimated average figure more than four times. The reasons for this are the huge capacity of the engine of my car, the large number of miles driven per year, and respectively the large amount of gasoline used for this purpose. The above-listed steps to reduce the CO2 production rates can be effective provided they are properly implemented.

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