That dirty look parents (OK, some parents) give a cigarette smoker blowing smoke towards their kids? Maybe those should extend to drivers of cars using conventional internal-combustion engines. Which would make for a whole lot of stink-eye.

Diesel emissions have been tied to asthma and lung cancer.

A former intern for the US Environmental Protection Agency has written an article saying gas-powered cars are causing far more of the world's health problems than people care to admit. In many US states, cars and trucks are the largest pollution source, and light-duty vehicle emissions can cause coughing, lung irritation, lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. Diesel emissions have been tied to asthma and lung cancer, as well. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) says more than 9,000 Californians are killed each year from automobile and truck pollution. In the UK, vehicle emissions kill more people each year than auto accidents, Energy Biz says, citing an MIT study.

The good news is that more people than ever are adopting zero-emissions vehicle technology found in battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, and a number of governments are promoting zero-emissions vehicle sales. A collective of eight US states, for example, is aiming for 3.3 million zero-emissions vehicles sold by 2025, and they've already surpassed 260,000 units. The bad news is that those plug-in vehicles still account for a sliver of total new-vehicle sales, so those vehicle-pollution effects show no signs of abating anytime soon.

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