Buzzkill: Cars murder trillions of insects each year

Driving a car through the scenic highways and byways criss-crossing their way through the countryside can be a messy experience. No, we're not talking about pollution from tailpipes, we're talking about something far more insidious: literally trillions of lives are lost each year by nothing short of blunt-force trauma, and it's all caused by mankind's need to get from point A to point B.

Granted, the lives we're talking about aren't human lives. No, we're talking insects. A Dutch biologist named Arnold van Vliet took it upon himself to enumerate bug-shaped fatalities, and to do so, he enlisted the help of 250 drivers in The Netherlands. These motorists drove their cars as normal, and after shutting off their engines, counted the number of smashed insects on their front license plates.

A total of 19,184 miles were traveled by these test subjects over the course of six weeks, after which the results were tallied: 17,836 insects had met their demise. That's a lot of bug guts, but it's not until you extrapolate that data across the entire frontal area of an automobile and the total number of cars in the world that your head starts spinning.

The friendly buggers from Treehugger decided to do a little math in an attempt to estimate the total number of insect fatalities in the United States. Are you sitting down? An astounding 32.5 trillion insects (estimated, of course) are killed in the U.S. each year by automobiles. Total insect genocide.

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