Piece Comment

Review of How Long Do You Keep a Polluting Heap?

Few Americans are willing to ride public transit. Fewer still are willing to give up their cars. So that means our wear-and-tear on the environment will mostly likely be felt through the kind of car we drive. Rebecca Williams drives a 1989 Toyota with 188,000 miles on it. "Pieces of plastic trim fly off when I drive down the highway," she says. But that's not the worst of it. Her beater leaks oil. A lot of oil. Williams has to add one quart of oil every two weeks to keep the junker rolling down the road. So what's the environmental impact of that? That's the point of this piece. Williams checks with her mechanic and then a few scientists. It's a great journey and a pretty darn good story because it is something most listeners can relate to. If they ain't driving a junker now, chances are they did at one time. And my God, the environmental consequences of that are more than just an inconvenient truth, they are expensive to remedy.