Basic knowledge - Public costs
The external costs of automobiles, as similarly other economic externalities, are the measurable costs for other parties except the car proprietor, such costs not being taken into account when the proprietor opts to drive their car. According to the Harvard University,11 the main externalities of driving are local and global pollution, oil dependence, traffic congestion and traffic accidents; while according to a meta-study conducted by the Delft University12 these externalities are congestion and scarcity costs, accident costs, air pollution costs, noise costs, climate change costs, costs for nature and landscape, costs for water pollution, costs for soil pollution and costs of energy dependency. The existence of the car allows on-demand travel, given, that the necessary infrastructure is in place. This infrastructure represents a monetary cost, but also cost in terms of common assets that are difficult to represent monetarily, such as land use and air pollution.
Car - about fuel
Most cars in use today are propelled by an internal combustion engine, fueled by deflagration of gasoline or diesel. Both fuels are known to cause air pollution and are also blamed for contributing to climate change and global warming.4 Rapidly increasing oil prices, concerns about oil dependence, tightening environmental laws and restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions are propelling work on alternative power systems for cars. Efforts to improve or replace existing technologies include the development of hybrid vehicles, plug-in electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles. Vehicles using alternative fuels such as ethanol flexible-fuel vehicles and natural gas vehicles are also gaining popularity in some countries. Cars for racing or speed records have sometimes employed jet or rocket engines, but these are impractical for common use.
Oil consumption in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has been abundantly pushed by car growth; the 1985?2003 oil glut even fuelled the sales of low-economy vehicles in OECD countries. The BRIC countries are adding to this consumption; in December 2009 China was briefly the largest car market.35
Cars and costs - from Wikipedia
In countries deprived from wide door-to-door public transport and with low density, such as Australia, the automobile plays an important role on the mobility of citizens. Public transport, by comparison, becomes increasingly uneconomic with lower population densities. Hence cars tend to dominate in rural and suburban environments with public economic gains.
The automobile industry, mainly in the beginning of the 20th century when the high motorization rates were not an issue, had also an important public role, which was the creation of jobs. In 1907, 45,000 cars were produced in The United States, but 28 years later in 1935 3,971,000 were produced, nearly 100 times as many. This increase in production required a large, new work force. In 1913 13,623 people worked at Ford Motor Company, but by 1915 18,028 people worked there.10 Bradford DeLong, author of The Roaring Twenties, tells us that, "Many more lined up outside the Ford factory for chances to work at what appeared to them to be (and, for those who did not mind the pace of the assembly line much, was) an incredible boondoggle of a job.10" There was a surge in the need for workers at big, new high-technology companies such as Ford. Employment largely increased.