Environmental sustainability of a product such as an automobile can be measured ultimately by its impact on the planet's life support system. This support system can be characterized in terms of natural resource endowments and environmental quality for current and future generations. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is an analytical framework that provides a variety of metrics that can help us assess environmental sustainability. LCA evaluates the material and energy input and outputs related to a product throughout its material production, manufacturing, use/service and retirement stages. While the automotive industry has offered society many benefits including personal mobility and employment (7.5 percent of the total US employment), there are significant costs as well. Consider in this article several key environmental sustainability issues relating to each stage of the automobile life cycle.
CSS Publication Number:
State of the Great Lakes. 1999 Annual Report.
Keoleian, Gregory A. 1999. The Automobile and Environmental Sustainability. State of the Great Lakes 1999 Annual Report: 42-45.