Warning: Driving Could Be Hazardous to Your Health

Last week, the European Parliament proposed that car advertisements throughout the EU include tobacco-style health warnings about the environmental impact of automobiles. The New York Times reported:

Under the plan, 20 percent of the space or time of any auto ad would have to be set aside for information on a car’s fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, cited as a contributor to global climate change. So, should we prepare for warnings along the lines of, "Driving this car may damage the health of the planet"?

Perhaps not just yet. The European Union lawmaking road is long and curvy, and the Parliament cannot initiate legislation. Instead, it sometimes tries to legislate by press release, taking populist stances in an effort to put pressure on industry and the European Commission. The commission, which holds much of the real lawmaking power within the 27-country bloc, often takes a softer line.

Chris Davies, a British member of the European Parliament who sponsored the measure, said the proposed labels could make a difference. Many auto ads now seem to be aimed at enticing consumers to buy bigger, faster, more gas-guzzling cars than they need, he said. "The rationale is to try to get carmakers to compete on environmental information about their cars, rather than purely on power, speed and appearance," he said.

Photo: Rob Godspeed

  • Bink

    How about a warning about the air quality inside the car? I remember reading that the air the driver is breathing is more toxic then the air the cyclist or pedestrian on the side of the road is breathing.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    How about the yearly cost of spinal surgery, pain-killers and chiropractic caused by prolonged automobile reclination?


Today’s Headlines

More Developers Are Building Without Parking (WSJ) 50,000 People Ride Cincinnati Streetcar on Opening Weekend (Business Journal) Edward Hume: How Transportation Overkill Is Killing Us (NYT) Google’s “Cozy” Relationship With Self-Driving Car Regulators (The Atlantic) Federal Grant Will Bring Health Clinics to St. Louis Metro Stations (STL Today) …One of 19 Health-Transportation Projects Funded With $7 Million From […]

The Assumption of Inconvenience

Early this week, I noticed a number of my favorite bloggers linking to this Elisabeth Rosenthal essay at Environment 360, on the mysterious greenness of European nations. The average American, as it happens, produces about twice as much carbon dioxide each year as your typical resident of Western Europe. Rosenthal attributes much of this difference […]

Cyclists Are Special, and They Should Have Their Own Rules

There’s a line of reasoning advanced by the media, angry motorists and, sometimes, cyclists, that goes something like: Since some cyclists don’t follow the rules, cyclists don’t deserve respect. A version of this axiom was repeated yesterday by Sarah Goodyear at Atlantic Cities, in an article titled “Cyclists Aren’t ‘Special,’ and They Shouldn’t Play by Their […]

Today’s Headlines

Pedestrian, 82, Hit and Killed by Delivery Truck in Chelsea (NYT) Allegedly Drunk Dad Leaves Kid in Car After Crash (NY Post) Flashy Electric Vehicles Generate Buzz (LA Times) European Commission Proposes 18% Cut in New-Car Emissions (BBC) LA Seeks to Curb Attacks on Parking Officers (LA Times) Weinshall’s Response to Sullivan Op-Ed (NYT) The […]

The Transformative Potential of Bike Sharing

Can a bike-sharing program transform a city? To mark the second anniversary of the Vélib system in Paris, Streetsblog Network member World Streets has a post arguing that it can, if it’s done on a sufficient scale: One of the complaints currently being voiced in the UK press about the new public bike start-up in […]

Philly’s Railcar Meltdown and America’s Disastrous Train Regulations

Philadelphia’s commuter rail system has been plunged into turmoil after transit officials discovered a defect in SEPTA railcars this weekend. All 120 railcars delivered just three years ago by Hyundai Rotem, an American subsidiary of the Hyundai Motor Group, have cracks in load-bearing components. SEPTA officials say caution requires them to remove the cars from service for repairs. That […]