USB ports are the new cup holders, and it could be bad for the planet


texting while driving

Politics On The Hudson

The number of USB ports in cars is rapidly increasing, making the car a more device-friendly place...for better or worse.

The number of USB ports found in new cars is rising fast, as automakers continue to look for ways to bring technology into new models.

Bloomberg's Jeff Green reports that the "number of vehicles sold in the U.S. with USB charge ports rose to about 14.6 million last year from about 3.3 million in 2005."

Many new cars have more than one port: the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan will come standard with nine, the most available in any new car, while the previous year's model only came with four.


But besides signaling the increased distracted-ness of modern drivers, the trend has an environmental impact. Green writes:

...a phone drawing electricity from a USB port cuts 0.03 miles from each gallon of gasoline in a tank. Across the fleet of vehicles in the U.S., that would mean about 970,000 tons of extra planet-warming carbon dioxide a year, according to calculations by Jon Bereisa, a retired General Motors Co. engineering executive who studies vehicle power usage. With a race under way to see how many charging ports automakers can cram into a car, the increased pollution is only going to get worse.

Because of the relative inefficiency of a car's electrical system - which can be thought of as a gasoline-powered powerplant - charging a phone at home is a much cleaner and cheaper option.

Add these to an already long list of reasons not to text behind the wheel. Read the full Bloomberg story here.


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