The United States is the home of the automobile. Since Henry Ford pushed the car onto the streets and we were changed from a walking, horse riding, and bicycling people, American life is different from other places. Fast food became what it is because people like Ray Kroc figured out that people in southern California wanted to eat in their cars.
"We the people" spend over 500 hours a year in cars. That has significant health and environmental impacts. If you don't smoke and are otherwise healthy, a long commute in a city could be the most unhealthy thing you do because you are exposed to enormous amounts of air pollution from car and truck exhaust. And the environmental effects of all that fuel combustion is clearly having a large impact. Carbon monoxide, ozone, and particulate matter generate air pollution. In total, 33% of the United States' carbon dioxide emissions come from the transportation and 60% of that comes - roughly 19% of the whole pie - comes from personal automobile use. All that time in the car pushes our waist bands, our lungs, and the planet's climate.
Our second guest today, Penn State student Taylor Kidd, is working to push the automobile's envelope. As part of Penn State's Advanced Vehicle Team, he is competing in the Eco Car 2 competition, an educational competition between 15 teams at colleges and universities across the U.S. sponsored by GM and other companies. The goal is to outfit a Chevy Malibu so that it "reduces fuel consumption, reduces well-to-wheel greenhouse gas emissions, reduce criteria tailpipe emissions, and maintains consumer acceptability in the areas of performance, utility, and safety."
How do you do that? Kidd is going to talk to us about the competition, his car, and the future of car design.
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