Read e-book online Auto Mania: Cars, Consumers, and the Environment PDF

By Tom McCarthy

ISBN-10: 0300158483

ISBN-13: 9780300158489

The twentieth-century American adventure with the auto has a lot to inform us concerning the dating among patron capitalism and the surroundings, Tom McCarthy contends. In Auto Mania he offers the 1st environmental background of the car that exhibits how client wish (and producer judgements) created affects around the product lifecycle—from uncooked fabric extraction to production to patron use to disposal.


From the provocative public antics of younger millionaires who owned the 1st vehicles early within the 20th century to the SUV craze of the Nineteen Nineties, Auto Mania explores advancements that touched the surroundings. alongside the way in which McCarthy examines how Henry Ford’s fetish for waste aid tempered the environmental affects of version T mass creation; how Elvis Presley’s greatly shared postwar wish for Cadillacs made issues worse; how the Seventies strength concern harm small automobiles; and why child boomers missed concerns approximately international warming.


McCarthy exhibits that difficulties have been well-known early. the trouble used to be addressing them, an issue much less of doing medical examine and instructing the general public than imposing ideas via America’s industry economic climate and democratic govt. shopper and manufacturer pursuits have hardly aligned in worthwhile methods, and automakers and shoppers have made strong competitors of law. the outcome has been a combined checklist of environmental reform with troubling clients for the future.

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Additional info for Auto Mania: Cars, Consumers, and the Environment

Example text

After several years of sporadic protest that smoky auto­ mobiles were ruining the experience of nature in Central Park, reformers circu­ lated petitions in 1908 that successfully pressured the New York City Board of Parks into passing an ordinance that permitted the authorities to expel offending vehicles from the city's parks after 1 August 1908. 21 Municipal reformers led by Edward S. Cornell next mounted pressure to ex­ tend regulation to smoking vehicles on the city's regular streets. "New York is approaching .

He had been put in his place. Most middle-class Americans could not yet afford an automobile. They readily sup­ ported steps that prevented an undeserving working class reaping the benefits that they envied. Thus, the boundaries of the privilege would be well policed until they could afford automobiles. 29 Americans recognized the automobile's practical advantages as transporta­ tion, but the emotionally charged issues raised by how wealthy Americans (and their chauffeurs) introduced the automobile powerfully affected Ameri­ can consciousness and life.

The presence of carbon monoxide in automobile exhaust underscored the fact of imperfect combustion. Engineers and scientists did not fully understand the reasons for this failure, but they be­ lieved that imperfect combustion accounted for black smoky exhaust (as op­ posed to blue smoke from overlubrication) as well as the bad smell. They knew that the complete combustion of hydrocarbon compounds, consisting of carbon and hydrogen atoms, in the presence of oxygen should yield two naturally occur­ ring by-products, carbon dioxide gas and water.

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Auto Mania: Cars, Consumers, and the Environment by Tom McCarthy

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