Cleaning up the environment

Because there are so many vehicles on the road today, car emissions have taken a front seat in many business and political discussions.

Since these are harmful emissions are released in the atmosphere, many of our largest cities are concerned about the adverse affects that it has on the populations overall health. Because these gases may make it hard for people to breathe, this is an issue that cannot be ignored by the average person or by the vehicle manufacturers. In fact, there are many agencies and emmision studies that indicate that our environments need to be cleaned up by virtually every means possible.

Electric Car Replacing Autos Run By Petrol and Diesel

Fortunately, there are numerous solutions that everyone is paying special attention, which includes but not limited to, the average citizen teaming up with others to drive to work and back. Also, there are some long term solutions that manufacturers are working on today, and they normally involve producing different types of vehicles that do not require various types of petrol based fuel to function properly. One in specific, is the electric car.

Even though the invention of the electric car can be traced backed to its initial inception more than 100 years ago, the electric car did not gain in notable prominence until recently, in 1960s and 1970s. It was during these times that car makers begin to consider the electric car as a serious option when oil shortages began to drive the demand. Today, the electric car industry is receiving another leap forward to becoming a staple in the U.S. and other countries due to the harmful emissions that’s created carbon pollution on a large scale.

Self Driving Vehicles And Car and Emission Related Concerns

While there are many different initiatives driving the need to reduce harmful car emissions into the environment, some are more notable than others. In addition to the strong push to get more electric vehicles on the road, there is another innovative solution on the horizon. The newest that appears to be hitting the airways heavy is the introduction of self driving cars.

Even though it has taken over a century to incorporate the electric car into the mainstream, this is not the case for the self-driving car. In fact, the outlook for the self-driving car is more than promising since it is scheduled to become part of the norm as early as 2020. Google has already released a prototype and they are expecting the average driver to be a part of this new technology in the very near future. By 2050, the projections made include reducing car emission polution by as much as 80% in participating areas.

Reducing emission pollution is currently a big problem that is on the agenda of many individuals, small companies, large corporations, vehicle manufacturers and government agencies alike. All of which have a joint part in correcting these problems because of the impact that has on the overall health of large populations and the environment. Fortunately, there are some great solutions in the making they are designed to address and eliminate these concerns. Two of the more notable includes the introduction of the latest electric cars and self-driving vehicles.

Environmental benefits of electric cars

Plugin Electric Vehicles (PEVs) have significant environmental benefits compared to conventional gasoline and diesel powered cars. The PEVs have become a major boost in trying to avert climate changes caused by gasoline and diesel vehicles while going beyond that by saving the fuel economy.

These hybrid PEVs offer a perfect alternative to the problem of carbon emissions and air pollution. Some of the environmental benefits of PEVs include:

  1. Reducing Greenhouse Gases Emission

Most greenhouse gas emissions come from car tailpipe emissions which account for about a third of the total greenhouse gases. Plugin cars significantly reduce the amount of tailpipe emissions per mile than any other type of cars. Even those that are partially powered by gasoline have very low emissions and are more environmental friendly than gasoline cars. The amount of emissions reduced by Plug-in vehicles is also dependent on the source of electricity used to power it. The life-cycle emission is low when the source of electricity is a low-polluting energy source. For example, if the source of electricity for PEVs is a coal-fired plant-and coal is known to produce greenhouse gases-then the net emission will still be lower compared to conventional cars. If the source of recharge electricity is a renewable source, then there will be zero greenhouse gas emission.

  1. Better Fuel Economy

Hybrid Electric Vehicles have a much better fuel economy with low fuel costs than conventional cars. This is also majorly because of the low cost of electricity for recharging the electric vehicles which is measured in kilowatts per hour for every 100 miles. It is estimated that light duty electric cars only consume 25-40 kilowatts-hour to drive for a 100 miles. As for medium and heavy duty PEVs, the amount of energy consumed is relative to the load it carries and the duty cycle. They however have a very strong advantage compared to other vehicles.

  1. Provides Energy Security

Every now and then we have energy crisis in various parts of the world with fuel prices spiking and its supply diminishing. To help curb energy problems in the future, electric cars will provide an escape route and a more sustainable way of transport. Almost three-quarters of all imported fuel is consumed by vehicles and other modes of transport. Using plug-in and hybrid cars can reduce the over reliance on imported fuels and therefore promote energy security.

  1. Clean and Clear Air

Since hybrid cars have no emissions apart from those which are partially powered by gasoline with also very low emissions, they play a significant role in reducing air pollution. They practically have no smoke coming out of their tailpipes and this helps in promoting cleaner air which is also clear and safe.

  1. Promotes Renewable Energy

Plug-in cars would reduce carbon emissions by up to a third, of which is produced by the transport sector. This would mean that over 80 million gasoline powered vehicles would be replaced by electric cars which would in turn be charged using the national grid instead of coal-fired plants. Electric cars would also promote the use of electricity from renewable sources such as solar and hydro-electric power.

However, with all the mouth-watering benefits of plug-in cars, there is a downside look to it. These are some of the disadvantages and limitations of electric cars

  1. They are very expensive- this makes is difficult to own one costing at $30,000 to $40,000. Many people would therefore go for a mid-sized gasoline powered car.
  2. They have a limited range- most PEVs have a range of 80-100 miles and require quite some time to fully recharge. This creates unnecessary range anxiety and worry if you are traveling for a long distance
  3. Limited car choice- the auto brands for electric cars is quite limited and offers you a choice between 20 or so models to choose from. This is exact opposite of conventional cars with many models, styles and brands to select from.

Hybrid electric cars have more positive scores to look at and have become the new alternative to the energy crisis. By replacing the conventional cars, we shall be looking at a new and more sustainable future free from pollution.

Fun ways to save money on fuel

Ask around right now and there are few people who aren’t aiming to save money on fuel. Fuel prices are high, high, high and don’t seem likely to go down significantly at any point in the foreseeable future. So what can you do to save fuel? There are plenty of sensible things you can do (which are listed at the bottom of this article) but here are some of the fun things:

  1. Car share. The chances are you go to work and see the same people on the road, at the same time as you pretty much every day. There’s no reason whatsoever, apart from possibly shyness and stubbornness that you’re not travelling together. OK, in the real world there’ll be days where that car share mightn’t work out, but even if you did it 20% of the time, that would make a difference. There are plenty of ways to track down car share opportunities; you can look online, you can place ads on notice boards and you can simply ask around.
  2. Walk, run or bike. How many of us reach Sunday evening and say, “right, next week I’m going to the gym and am going to cut out x, y and z?”. If your work is within walking, running or biking distance, you can kill two birds with one stone here. Assuming there are shower facilities at your place of work and somewhere to store your bike, then this option is well worth thinking about
  3. Take public transport. Depending on where you live, public transport might be a whole lot more fun than you imagine. A friend of mine lives on a rural bus route and only started taking the bus into the city a few months ago. Already she’s heavily involved in ‘bus culture’. They bake cakes for each other and even had a night out together to celebrate one of the passengers 50th birthday! While not all public transport will be so convivial, if you never try it, you’ll never know.
  4. Set up your own shared transport system. If there isn’t an organised car share network that suits your needs, you could perhaps start one up? It needn’t be hugely time consuming and you might be surprised at how many nice people you meet.

Here are some of the other (more sensible) things you can do:

  • Only drive when you have to. This sounds obvious, but how often do you hop into the car without even thinking? Stopping to think about other solutions is the first step.
  • Make sure your car is well maintained. Well-maintained cars use less fuel; and that’s a fact.
  • Sniff out cheap fuel offers. Supermarkets in particular often have fuel offers and sniffing them out and making a point of planning your ‘fill-up’ for offer days could make a huge difference to your annual spend.
  • Fill up to the max. Travelling to and from the filling station to buy £20 worth of fuel three times a week makes no sense whatsoever, because you’re using fuel to get there. What you need to do is plan your finances so your cashflow can support a full tank on a regular basis.
  • Think of investing in a hybrid vehicle. There’s no getting away from the fact that a hybrid car will save you a fortune on fuel. While you’ll have the capital outlay at the start, you’ll certainly save in the long run. While we’re not suggesting you change car just to save fuel, but if you’re thinking of changing car anyway, now is a great time to be thinking about investing in a hybrid.

What is a hybrid car?

hybrid carHybrid cars were thought of as a futuristic thing that would never happen only a few years ago, but already we are seeing more and more of them on the roads.

The word hybrid essentially has two distinct meanings. Not surprisingly, both meanings are related. The first meaning refers to its biological association whereby it is the term used to describe the offspring of two plants or animals of different species. An example of this would be a mule, which is a hybrid of a donkey and a horse. Its more general meaning is in things, words or objects and again is the term used to describe things that are made by combining two different elements to create a mix. This could refer to an object, a word or indeed a vehicle made with two different power sources eg. fuel and electricity.

The main benefits of hybrid cars are that they are extremely efficient from a fuel point of view and emit much less CO2 than their fuel counterparts. Introduced initially to the mass market in the years 1999-2000, the notion of (part) electric cars has taken a while to catch on, but suddenly, there seems to be significantly growing interest in this style of vehicle.

As we explained above, a hybrid vehicle is simply a vehicle that is manufactured with the ability to use more than one form of energy to make it move. Typically, this combination involves a fuel tank, an electric motor and a battery pack. It’s important not to confuse hybrid cars with electric cars because they are completely different. At the moment, while diesel hybrid cars are available, the cost of producing a diesel hybrid is currently prohibitive, so the option is petrol and electric with a battery pack.

There are various types of hybrid vehicle currently available and these include motor-generator; stop-start, parallel hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric drive, all of which function slightly differently, but rely on a combination of fuel power and electric power to drive the car. Car manufacturers across the board are keen to exploit their potential share of the hybrid car market and are seeking to launch models that appeal to different segments of the market. And if you think that hybrid cars are all small, with little power, it’s time to think again. When Porsche launched its Cayenne hybrid, with its 3.0 litre, V6 Engine, it became crystal clear that hybrids weren’t intended only for the school run or for tootling along to a Saga meeting.

In the UK alone, there are a whole host of hybrid models available in petrol options and some diesel options are starting to appear. Currently, the most popular model is the Toyota Prius hybrid, with Honda also featuring in the top five list. Volkswagen and Porsche, not surprisingly want a share of the action and as already outlined, are making it clear that the hybrid market isn’t just for people who want economy and environmental results at all costs.

So where do we go from here? The next big thing is tipped to be the plug-in hybrid that will take fuel even further out of the equation. Presumably the infrastructure has quite a way to go before that becomes possible, but like all things, it could be here before we know it.