The Argonauts: An Exploration of Life

How much oxygen does a car breathe?

How much oxygen does a car use?

What if greenhouse gases aren’t the problem?

We are all aware of our reliance on fossil fuels and their byproduct of greenhouse gases and poisons. But have you ever wondered about the oxygen needed to burn the fuel?

Gas (C) + Oxygen (O2) = Carbon dioxide (CO2) or Carbon monoxide (CO).

As mankind burns more and more fuel, we are also burning more and more oxygen. Simultaneously, the planet’s ecosystem is being destroyed. And because the plants produce our oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis, less plants also means less oxygen.

Are the plants suffocating too?

The over-simplified answer is — Yes! Plants breathe carbon dioxide (CO2). A common misperception is that more emissions means more CO2, and thus plants will grow faster and produce more oxygen. Does the planet look anymore green to you? Unfortunately, the emissions from a vehicle contain more carbon monoxide (CO) which the plants can’t use and is poisonous to humans.

The oxygen in our atmosphere is being measurably and quickly reduced. Oxygen depletion, in our opinion, will soon be recognized as the greatest crisis humanity has ever faced. And it will probably happen in our lifetime. It is critical to start changing our habits and infrastructure while we still can. Because as we all know, we can’t simply stop driving our cars tomorrow. Which, by the way, is another great reason to ride a bike. Especially since one minute of driving your car consumes the equivalent oxygen that 5 people breathe in one day — that’s a lot of bicycling.

Join our Global Oxygen Depletion Facebook Page and follow some current thinking, and maybe lend some of your own. And stay tuned for Scott’s upcoming book Breathless.

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