Friday, June 26, 2015

Guest Post: Alternative Energy Vehicles and the Environment

[Clean Air Watch periodically accepts guest posts to this space. The attached piece from Nik Donovic -- which highlights the benefits of hybrid vehicles -- struck a particular cord. We hope you find it interesting.]

It’s not tough to make an argument on why alternative fuel vehicles are the right choice for the environment and the American people. Choosing the right car can help in reducing your carbon footprint, as well as serve to cut down on our reliance of foreign petroleum. Hybrid cars are a good middle ground if you are not fully ready to purchase an electric car. Hybrids run on two fuels or energy sources – the traditional gasoline engine, and an alternative fuel source such as hydrogen-run motors or an electric engine. Hybrids produce 80% less harmful pollutants and greenhouse gases, making them a great alternative for breathing cleaner air.
Energy Security
In 2013, the United States imported around 33% of petroleum from foreign sources. Three-quarters of the fuel consumption in the country has been due to transportation. If alternative energy vehicles become mainstream, the reliance on petroleum imports will diminish. We will no longer have to deal with sudden price spikes or even supply disruptions. Many of our resources come from politically volite areas, so it is crucial to get a better grip on our energy security. Even though hybrid vehicles run partly on conventional energy sources, the amount of fuel these vehicles consume is much less compared to other cars. 
Better fuel economy 
Alternative energy vehicles have better fuel economy and low fuel consumption cost as compared to conventional vehicles. This is because plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV’s) and all-electric vehicles (EV’s) are capable of using off-board sources of electricity. Keep in mind that almost all U.S. electricity is produced from domestic coal, nuclear energy, natural gas, and renewable resources, thus taking advantage of our own national resources. The fuel-efficiency of the hybrid vehicles is much better than that of the fuel efficiency of conventional vehicles because they use electric-drive technologies to boost their efficiency. 
An electric vehicle will only consume around 25-40 kWh of electricity to travel 100 miles. When it comes to making the choice to purchase a hybrid or plug-in electric vehicle, you may have to fish out more money than if you were buying a conventional one. However, in the long-run you will save on fuel and maintenance, and help to cut down our dependence on foreign oil. Oh, and you’re also saving Mother Earth.
Need more convincing?
  • Better mileage: As compared to the conventional vehicles, the hybrid or electric vehicles are better in mileage by 5 miles per gallon. You do not need to fill gasoline so frequently as there are two alternative sources of fuels. Thus, these vehicles cut the cost and consumption of gasoline. You will be able to save money in the process. 
  • Less pollution: Vehicles that run on gasoline produce a lot of pollution. But hybrid or electric vehicles are not similar. There is no emission of harmful gases like carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide in the case of a vehicle that runs on electricity. In the case of a total loss accident which you may see in action movies or even on the side of the freeway, there will also be far less harmful gases emitted as opposed to a traditional gasoline vehicle. You will be able to reduce your carbon footprint on this earth. And, you will be contributing less to the depletion of the environment due to the greenhouse effect.  
  • Decrease in fuel demand: If the alternative energy vehicles become mainstream, there will be less use of conventional fuels for running vehicles. The demand for fuel would decrease. As the demand for non-renewable fuels decreases, there will be less drilling and less negative impacts on the environment. 

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