Do gas fumes cause road rage?

November 25th, 2009 by hughillustration

As if we needed another reason to oppose the organization of our cities around cars and gasoline… Wired reports:

Amal Kinawy of Cairo University found that rats exposed to gasoline fumes were more aggressive than those breathing clean air and more likely to show signs of anxiety. What’s more, their brains experienced changes in neurotransmitters in the hypothalamus, hippocampus and cerebellum. Although Kinaway limited her research to rats, she says the findings could apply to humans and be a factor in road rage.

“Heightened aggression may be yet another risk for the human population chronically exposed to urban air polluted by automobile smoke,” she said. “Millions of people every day are exposed to gasoline fumes while refueling their cars.”

That’s interesting, because I think studies have shown that rats that ride bikes for an hour each day exhibit the opposite tendencies — friendliness, sociability, and extreme cuteness. Just sayin’.

3 Responses to “Do gas fumes cause road rage?”

  1. Sungevity says:

    Brian from Sungevity– inviting the sf critical mass to join us at a press conference and short ride to promote cycling and solar energy! Our friends from The Solar Cycle Diaries are making their way to San Francisco on Monday, November 30th as part of their world wide tour raising awareness about cycling and solar energy.

    Here are the event details:

    11:45am: Meet in front of the ferry building in San Francisco

    12:00pm-12:30pm: Press conference with the Solar Cycle Diaries, The Vice President of the Public Utilities Commission, and Danny Kennedy (President of Sungevity)

    12:30pm-1:00pm: Cycle from ferry building to and across the Golden Gate Bridge

    The news media and cycle clubs around the Bay Area will be joining us in supporting the Solar Cycle Diaries’ work and we would very much appreciate your participation in our event. Check out the Solar Cycle Diaries at and feel free to contact me with any questions you have.

    Brian Somers

  2. hapa says:

    that was in kermit, piggy, fozzie et al (1979), wasn’t it?

  3. Road Rage says:

    Yes, this kind of study is really great. It just shows how we, people, burst our emotions especially while driving — in the road, causing road rage.