Toyota Yaris Interior

You knew this was coming, didn't you? Another one of life's little pleasures bites the dust. It turns out that Japanese researchers have found that the new car smell that has intoxicated car buyers for decades is actually a toxic blend of chemicals knows as volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

In a manner similar to sick-building syndrome, the VOCs can trigger headaches, sore throats, nausea and drowsiness. Apparently the cabin of your new car exhibits toxic emissions several times safe limits.

As part of a Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association initiative, the Japanese big five - Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi and Mazda - are launching cars with lower VOC levels, using the safer interiors as a key selling point. All their new vehicles will meet JDM VOC standards by 2007.

Meanwhile, U.S. automakers and the EPA are ignoring the issue.