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The Impact of Car Modifications on the Environment

Cansu Erdal
February 01, 2023

As you know, the environment provides necessary resources and conditions for human survival and well-being. It is the source of clean air, water, and food and provides a habitat for a wide range of plant and animal species. However, some car modifications negatively affect the environment. Actually, the impact of car modifications on the environment depends on how they affect the vehicle’s emissions and fuel efficiency.

Even though it is normal to benefit from cutting-edge car mods adding more performance to your vehicle, you should avoid car modifications harmful to the environment and the original car hood parts. In fact, when you learn the answer to the “how much pollution does a car produce?” question, you will want to buy eco-friendly car modifications.

Eco car

Thus, we will talk about everything from California car modification laws to the best cars for environment. In other words, this article examines which cars and government policies protect the environment. So, if you read it till the end, you will learn what car modifications are illegal and how they cause serious harm to both environment and the original car engine parts. 

How Much Pollution Do Cars Produce?

How do cars pollute the air? Because of burning gasoline and diesel fuel, vehicles produce a variety of pollutants, including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. This gives a simple answer to the “why are cars bad for the environment?” question. On the other hand, the amount of pollution a car produces is actually dependent on several factors, including the type of vehicle, its age, and how it is driven.

Exhaust pipes

For example, older cars without catalytic converters or other emissions control equipment can produce significantly more nitrogen oxides and particulate matter than newer cars. We can associate the amount of pollution a car produces with the quality of the vehicle's engine and emissions control technology. So, poor-quality car engine and emissions control equipment are responsible for environmental pollution.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average passenger car emits about 4.6 metric tons of CO2 annually. Light-duty trucks (such as pickups and SUVs) emit slightly more, at about 6.0 metric tons of CO2 per year. Thus, vehicles are a major source of pollution. Before discussing what types of information can be found on an EPA, let’s talk about how much air pollution comes from cars. 

How Do Cars Cause Air Pollution?

As we mentioned above, cars cause air pollution through the emissions they produce while they are being driven. They also produce emissions from their tires and brakes as well as from the evaporation of fuel. If you want to give a detailed answer to the “do cars pollute the air?” question, you should know the most common pollutants emitted by cars. So, let’s talk about them below:

  • Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause headaches and nausea in high concentrations.
  • Nitrogen oxides (NOx) - a group of gases that can contribute to the formation of smog and acid rain.
  • Particulate matter (PM) - tiny particles of dust, soot, and other materials that can be inhaled into the lungs and cause respiratory problems.Hydrocarbons (HC) - a group of chemicals that can contribute to the formation of smog.
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) - a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter and can also negatively affect human health.

Air pollution

Additionally, cars emit sulfur dioxide, another air pollutant that contributes to acid rain. These pollutants are produced by the internal combustion engine of the vehicles as the fuel is burned. Thus, the complex mix of pollutants is a major contributor to air pollution in urban areas where human health issues and climate change are potential problems.

What are the Best Cars for the Environment?

When the impact of cars on the environment is considered, you should stay away from cars with high emissions and poor fuel efficiency. So, we can define the best cars for the environment as cars with low emissions and high fuel efficiency. Let’s talk about some of the most environmentally friendly car options below:

  • Electric vehicles (EVs) produce zero emissions and have a significantly lower environmental impact than traditional gasoline-powered cars.
  • Hybrid cars use a combination of a gasoline engine and an electric motor, which can significantly reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency.
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) can run on electricity for a certain distance and then switch to gasoline. They have similar emissions to electric cars but can travel longer distances without recharging.
  • Alternative fuel vehicles - Vehicles that run on alternative fuels such as ethanol, bio-diesel, or hydrogen produce fewer emissions than gasoline-powered cars. They can also help reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

Ecological electric car

It's important to note that these vehicles also have some downsides, such as the production of batteries and hydrogen fuel cells, which can also be environmentally impactful. However, electric and hybrid cars are the most environmentally friendly. So, let’s answer the “do electric or hybrid cars really help the environment?” question.

Pros And Cons of Electric Cars on The Environment

Electric vehicles (EVs) have many environmental benefits compared to traditional gasoline-powered cars. So, let’s look at some pros of electric vehicles on the environment below:

  • Zero emissions at the tailpipe: EVs produce zero emissions while driving, which helps to reduce air pollution in urban areas and improve public health.
  • Low emissions during operation: EVs are much more energy-efficient than internal combustion engines, producing fewer emissions throughout their lifetimes.
  • Reduced dependence on fossil fuels: EVs can be powered by clean energy sources like solar and wind power, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Quieter operation: EVs make very little noise, which can reduce noise pollution in urban areas.

 Electric vehicle

However, electric cars also have some downsides regarding their environmental impact. So, let’s look at some cons of EVs on the environment below:

  • Battery production: The production of EV batteries requires the mining and processing of raw materials, which can have a significant environmental impact.
  • Limited driving range: Most EVs have a limited driving range, which can be a problem for long-distance travel and can limit the practicality of electric cars.
  • Charging infrastructure: In order to support a large number of EVs, substantial investment in charging infrastructure is needed, which can also have environmental impacts.
  • The environmental impact of the electricity source: The environmental impact of an EV is also influenced by the source of electricity used to power it. If the electricity comes from fossil fuels, then the environmental impact of an EV may be similar to that of a gasoline-powered car.

Eco car

Overall, electric cars have the potential to significantly reduce the environmental impact of transportation, but their environmental benefits depend on the energy source, the production of battery, and the charging infrastructure. Let’s look at the differences between electric and hybrid vehicles and determine whether they really help the environment.

Do Electric or Hybrid Cars Really Help the Environment?

Are electric cars better for the environment? Or are electric cars bad for environment? Which question is more reasonable to ask? When you learn the difference between electric and hybrid vehicles, you will ask the right questions and give the right answers. 

Electric and hybrid cars can help the environment by reducing emissions and improving fuel efficiency compared to traditional gasoline-powered cars. But the overall environmental impact of these vehicles depends on several factors, including the source of electricity used to power them, the manufacturing process and materials used to build them, and the disposal or recycling of batteries or other components at the end of their life.

Electric green car

Electric cars (EVs) produce zero emissions at the tailpipe, which can help to reduce air pollution in urban areas and improve public health. They are also much more energy-efficient than internal combustion engines, which means they produce fewer emissions over the course of their lifetimes. Additionally, EVs can be powered by clean energy sources like solar and wind power, which can help decrease dependence on fossil fuels and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

On the other hand, hybrid cars also have environmental benefits by using both an electric motor and a gasoline engine, they can significantly reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency compared to traditional gasoline-powered cars.

Charging of electic car on charging station

However, it is important to consider the environmental impact of the materials and manufacturing process used to build electric and hybrid cars, as well as the disposal or recycling of batteries and other components at the end of their life. Additionally, the environmental impact of these cars is also influenced by the source of electricity used to power them. If the electricity comes from fossil fuels, then the environmental impact of an EV may be similar to that of a gasoline-powered car.

 Hybrid vehicle

As a result, electric and hybrid cars can help the environment by reducing emissions and improving fuel efficiency, but the overall environmental impact of these vehicles is complex and depends on the above-mentioned factors. So, it’s important to consider the entire life cycle of the vehicle, from production to disposal, and the source of electricity used to power it.

What are Government Policies on Cars That Protect the Environment?

There are a variety of government policies aimed at protecting the environment by reducing emissions from cars. For example, governments set standards for the minimum fuel efficiency of cars, which helps to reduce emissions and improve fuel economy. Also, they set standards for the maximum emissions of pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter that cars are allowed to produce.

Government policies on cars

Thus, government policies work to reduce the environmental impact of cars and encourage the use of cleaner vehicles. Let’s talk about the most well-known policies on cars: CARB and EPA. 

CARB

CARB stands for the California Air Resources Board, which is a state government agency in California, United States, that is responsible for controlling and limiting air pollution. It is also responsible for implementing California's greenhouse gas emissions reduction laws and regulations. The organization's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through the effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering their effects on the economy.

Car smog and air pollution

What Is Epa?

What does EPA mean? The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a federal agency created in 1970 to protect human health and the environment by enforcing federal laws and regulations. Well, what does the EPA do? One of the main responsibilities of the EPA is to regulate emissions from vehicles. 

So, what does EPA stand for? The EPA sets emissions standards for cars and trucks to limit the number of harmful pollutants that are released into the air. These standards apply to both new and used vehicles, and manufacturers must test their vehicles to ensure they meet the standards before they can be sold in the United States. 

Car and environment

According to the EPA, the transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, accounting for about 28% of total emissions. The reason is that car emissions include a variety of pollutants, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. These pollutants can have negative impacts on air quality and human health. 

Thus, what is the EPA responsible for? The EPA's emissions standards are designed to reduce the amount of these pollutants released by vehicles and to help improve air quality. The agency regularly updates and tightens these standards to further reduce emissions and combat air pollution.

What Is Epa Certification?

EPA certification refers to the certification process that vehicles and engines must go through to ensure they meet the emissions standards set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Let’s talk about how to get EPA certification.

Manufacturers must test and certify their vehicles and engines to show that they meet these emissions standards. The EPA certification involves laboratory testing of vehicles and engines, as well as on-road testing of vehicles. Once a vehicle or engine has been certified, the manufacturer must label it with a certification label that indicates it meets the relevant emissions standards.

Car protection

It's worth noting that vehicles and engines are tested under specific conditions, and the emissions may be different in real-world driving conditions. So, the EPA certification is important for protecting the environment as it ensures that vehicles and engines will emit the least number of pollutants.

How Does the EPA Affect Environmental Policy?

What is the purpose of the EPA? Or what is the role of the EPA? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plays a significant role in shaping and enforcing environmental policy in the United States. The EPA sets standards for various pollutants, including those emitted by vehicles and industrial facilities. These standards are designed to protect human health and the environment by limiting the number of pollutants that are released into the air, water, and land.

 Eco car energy

Also, the EPA is responsible for enforcing federal laws and regulations that protect the environment, such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. The agency can take enforcement action against companies or individuals who violate these laws, including fines and penalties. At this point, the EPA conducts scientific research and provides information and guidance on a wide range of environmental issues. This research is used to inform policy decisions and to develop new regulations.

Eco friendly car

As you can see, the EPA provides grants to state and local governments, tribes, and organizations to support environmental projects and programs. This funding can be used to improve air and water quality, clean up contaminated sites, and promote sustainable practices. Overall, the EPA plays a central role in shaping and enforcing environmental policy in the United States, working to protect human health and the environment by regulating pollutants and enforcing laws that protect the environment.

Why are EPA Banning Car Modifications? 

As we mentioned before, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority to regulate emissions from vehicles and engines, including emissions from modified vehicles. The EPA regulations prohibit the manufacture, sale, or installation of certain aftermarket parts that can cause a vehicle to emit more pollutants than it would have if it were in its original, certified configuration.

The EPA has a list of prohibited aftermarket parts, and it is illegal to install or sell these parts. Examples of prohibited parts include those that remove or bypass emissions control devices, such as catalytic converters or diesel particulate filters, or those that increase a vehicle's emissions beyond its certified level.

Car modifications

Thus, the EPA does not regulate or ban all types of car modifications, only those that increase a vehicle's emissions. Some modifications, such as electric conversions or hybrid conversions, can actually improve a vehicle's emissions. Additionally, the EPA also provides the "Certified Automotive Parts Association" (CAPA) program, which ensures that aftermarket parts meet the same standards as original equipment parts.

So, the EPA banning car mods cause a vehicle to emit more pollutants than it would have if it were in its original, certified configuration. For this reason, the EPA regulates and prohibits the manufacture, sale, or installation of Epa banning car modifications.

What Are Illegal Car Modifications?

Illegal car modifications refer to changes made to a vehicle that violate federal or state laws and regulations. We can define them as EPA banning car modifications. These modifications can include changes to the engine, exhaust, suspension, or other parts of the vehicle that can affect its emissions, performance, or safety. So, let’s talk about defeat devices.

illegal car mods

Defeat Devices

A defeat device is a software or hardware component in a vehicle's emission control system that can change the vehicle's emissions performance when it is not being tested, allowing it to emit more pollutants than it would under normal driving conditions. So, defeat devices are typically designed to detect when a vehicle is being tested and then adjust the emissions control system to produce lower emissions, making it appear as though the vehicle is fulfilling emissions standards.

Emissions Defeat Device

Emissions defeat devices are illegal in many countries, including the United States and the European Union, as they allow vehicles to emit pollutants at levels that exceed the legal limit. The use of defeat devices in vehicles can have a significant impact on air quality and public health, as well as contribute to climate change. So, emissions defeat device falls into the category of EPA banning car mods.

 Emmissions defeat device

One of the most well-known examples of emissions defeat devices was the Volkswagen “Dieselgate” scandal in 2015, in which the company admitted to installing defeat devices in millions of vehicles worldwide. The software in the defeat devices could detect when a vehicle was undergoing emissions testing and temporarily reduce emissions of pollutants, allowing the vehicles to pass emissions tests even though they were emitting pollutants at levels far above legal limits.

Thus, defeat devices are illegal in many countries, as they are designed to cheat emissions testing, allowing vehicles to emit pollutants at levels that exceed legal limits. So, you should be careful about car modifications banned by the EPA. 

What are Car Modifications Bad for the Environment?

Car modifications that are bad for the environment include complex operations, so they require a professional installation and removal process. For this reason, you have to separate enough budget to fulfill the necessary maintenance of these car mods. Also, some of these modifications may not be legal or feasible for all vehicles or in all locations. Thus, we can describe them as EPA banning car mods.  It's worth considering that these car mods can void your car warranty because of their risky operations. Let’s talk about some examples below:

ECU Chip Tunings

ECU chip tuning, in other words, performance chip tuning, is based on reprogramming the ECU (Electronic Control Unit). It is designed to modify the parameters of your car computer with the purpose of enhancing horsepower, speed, and fuel efficiency. However, it is a risky process and reveals bad results, depending on the tune you use. For this reason, the chip tuning can damage the original engine components of your vehicle.

Chip tunings

Thus, if you decide to get car chip tuning, you should get high-quality tuning equipment and professional help. Otherwise, it can void your car warranty. Also, ECU chip tuning adds more horsepower to your car, increasing engine power. This situation results in higher emissions that lead to environmental pollution. 

Nitrous Oxide Systems

Nitrous oxide consists of a chemical compound of two nitrogen and one oxygen. Nitrous oxide systems are designed to inject nitrous oxide into the engine to increase power, so they are responsible for increased emissions and fuel consumption. The reason is that while a nitrous oxide kit increases the power output of an engine, it requires a high amount of fuel to burn and increases the oxygen supply. It is responsible for the serious level of environmental pollution. For this reason, nitrous oxide systems are illegal in some states. On the other hand, these modifications can damage the factory settings of the original engine parts because of their risky installation process and operation.

Car parts

Turbochargers and Superchargers

Turbochargers and superchargers are designed to add more horsepower to your car. More specifically, they increase horsepower by forcing more air into the engine, which can lead to increased emissions and fuel consumption. Thus, turbochargers and superchargers pose a serious threat to the environment.

 Car turbocharger

Exhaust Modifications

Exhaust modifications are installed into the exhaust system. They increase the car's sound or remove emissions controls which can lead to increased emissions. As you can guess, non-eco-friendly car mods, in other words, EPA banning car modifications are also unreliable and cause some malfunctions in the engine. So, exhaust modifications fall into this category. Before buying them, you should think twice if you don’t want to harm your vehicle’s parts and the environment.

Car exhaust upgrade

What are Car Upgrades that Help Environment?

Car modifications that help the environment are reliable and useful for your vehicles. So, there is a strong relationship between eco-friendly features and fuel efficiency for car modification. When you buy eco-friendly car modifications like EPA diesel tuners or EPA diesel tuning, you can contribute to environmental protection and add effective performance to your vehicle. Let’s examine useful car upgrade parts below:

Solar Panels

When it comes to EPA-modified cars, installing a solar panel on a car is inevitable. More specifically, solar panels are designed to harness the energy from the sun to produce electricity which can be used to power the car’s battery, air conditioning and other electrical components. These car mods contribute to environmental protection by reducing the reliance on fossil fuels for energy generation. As you know, solar energy is a renewable and clean source of energy, so when you use it to power your car, you can reduce your carbon footprint and help to protect the environment.

Car solar panels

Air Filters

We can put air filters in the category of EPA car mods. Air filters are designed to bring air from outside the car into the engine intake manifold. This air, including more molecules of oxygen, is mixed with fuel from your gas tank. Without air filters, the engine would not complete the combustion process, so you have to face a loss of engine power, worse gas mileage, and engine maintenance problems. This situation would cause serious harm to both your car's performance and the environment. Thus, you must regularly change your air filter to get high-quality fuel efficiency.

Car air filter replacement

Eco-Friendly Tires

Eco-friendly tires are designed to have a lower environmental impact than traditional tires. They are made with materials that are less harmful to the environment and reduce waste during the production process. Moreover, eco-friendly tires are optimized for low rolling resistance, which leads to improved fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions. For this reason, we can say that eco-friendly tires are indispensable for EPA-modified cars.

Eco friendly car tires

How to Read Your Tire’s Text

Reading the text on your tires requires locating the sidewall of the tire. This is the outermost part of the tire that you can see when the vehicle is stationary. On the sidewall, you will find a series of letters and numbers representing important information about the tire. Here is what the text on your tires means:

  • Tire Size: The first set of numbers and letters represents the tire size. This includes the section width, aspect ratio, and wheel diameter.
  • Load Index: A load index is a number that represents the maximum weight that the tire is designed to carry.
  • Speed Rating: The speed rating is a letter that represents the maximum speed that the tire is rated for.
  • UTQG Rating: The UTQG rating is a set of numbers that represents the tire's treadwear, traction, and temperature resistance.
  • M+S or M&S: This stands for mud and snow and indicates that the tire is designed for use in these conditions.
  • Max PSI: This number represents the maximum pressure that the tire should be inflated to.

Car tires

When you know the above-mentioned information on your tires, you can make the right decision about which tires are best for your vehicle and driving needs. Moreover, you can use this information to ensure that your tires are properly inflated and functioning as intended, which will help to improve fuel efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint.

Synthetic Oils

Synthetic oils are man-made lubricants used in vehicles that are formulated to have improved properties compared to conventional mineral oils. They offer advanced performance in high and low temperatures, better fuel efficiency, and reduced engine wear. Therefore, this leads to a reduction in CO2 emissions and improved fuel economy, which contributes to environmental protection.

Synthetic oils for car

Aerodynamic Body Mods 

Aerodynamic body modifications refer to changes made to the shape of a vehicle to improve its aerodynamics, reduce drag, and improve fuel efficiency. We can sort the examples of aerodynamic body mods as spoilers, air dams, and underbody panels. As a result, by reducing drag and improving fuel efficiency, aerodynamic body modifications help to reduce a vehicle’s carbon footprint and environmental pollution.

Car spoilers

Upgrading Your Car’s Performance and Fuel Efficiency with Pedal Commander

Pedal Commander is the most reliable and versatile throttle controller on the market. Since it doesn’t interfere with the way the engine work, you can buy it with peace of mind. This means that Pedal Commander respects the factory settings of your car hood parts and consequently doesn’t void your car warranty. For this reason, Pedal Commander falls into the category of EPA car mods, in other words, eco-friendly car modifications.

Accordingly, Pedal Commander is quick to install and unplug. If you have 15 minutes, you can install or unplug it without going to a mechanic. Pedal Commander is also designed with advanced technology because it has a cutting-edge mobile application and Bluetooth control. Thus, whenever you want, you can customize your acceleration with the easy usage of the Pedal Commander app. 

Pedal Commander app

Moreover, Pedal Commander allows you to have a smoother and faster ride quality, comfortable acceleration adjustment, and fuel economy at the same time. This is because it has four adjustable driving modes: Eco mode, City mode, Sport mode, and Sport+ mode. So, when you buy a Pedal Commander, you may feel like you are driving four different cars.

As a result, we can describe Pedal Commander as an EPA car upgrade. When you learn more about Pedal Commander Eco mode, you can realize how it is successful in fuel efficiency. So, it is quite assertive about saving your money and time. If you buy this price and performance product, you will take your vehicle to the ultimate level of performance, acceleration, and fuel efficiency.

The Impact of Car Modifications on the Environment