So let’s take the example of a typical family car, a Volkswagen Golf.
With emissions of 123g/km, running a brand-new 1.4 TSI S 5-door for 40,000 miles – or about five years’ use for the average private car driver – would produce a total of just over 7.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
It contains raw materials, intermediate products, and by-products.
The enthusiasm everyone shares for these developments has in many ways created a sense of complacency that our future energy demands will easily be met.That’s because the hidden cost to the environment of each new car is a stack of pollutants, a heap of waste and a whole lot of precious fossil fuel. The Carbon Footprint of Nearly Everything, Berners-Lee suggests that previous attempts to work out the carbon footprint of car production use a process-based approach – that is to say, to add up the carbon dioxide produced at each stage of a car’s production – but that this approach will always result in an underestimate.He suggests that use of the input-output method, in which one takes account of the carbon dioxide emitted by the various industries that contribute to the manufacture of that car, gives a more accurate picture, even if it does rely heavily on the law of averages.The process is used heavily in the chemical industry, for example, to produce charcoal, activated carbon, methanol, and other chemicals from wood, to convert ethylene dichloride into vinyl chloride to make PVC, to produce coke from coal, to convert biomass into syngas and biochar, to turn waste plastics back into usable oil, or waste into safely disposable substances, and for transforming medium-weight hydrocarbons from oil into lighter ones like gasoline.These specialized uses of pyrolysis may be called various names, such as dry distillation, destructive distillation, or cracking.