Alternative Fuels

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In today’s world the environment is polluted with many pollutants that are harmful to the environment and us. Most of these pollutants are from our vehicles. There are more dangers in the world rising and causing global warming and health risks to be increased at a higher probability of it occurring. With gasoline becoming scarce and an abundant amount of pollution in the environment, transportation companies need to enforce and search for better ways that we can use alternative fuels for a cleaner and safer environment when we use mobile transportation.

There are several fuels in the world that claim to be safer and cleaner that what we use now. In this group there are hydrogen, biodiesel, ethanol, and natural gas. Also other options for different energy sources include solar powered energy and electric powered energy. Right now Hybrid vehicles are the most popular when it comes to modern day cars. The most popular car companies that offer these features are Honda, Toyota, and Nissan. Also there are others that are begging to offer these cars such as Chevrolet, Mazda, Lexus, Mercury, Ford, and Saturn.

There are hybrid today that still use gasoline but just at fewer rate of it than regular cars, this is a good start but there needs to be a more reliable source of fuel to use. A hybrid car is an automobile powered by a cross of two different power sources. The hybrid cars today are gasoline-electric vehicles. Although hybrid cars still use gasoline, they uses less gas than a regular gasoline powered vehicle. But there are some controversies with hybrid vehicles such as it being too quiet for blind people to hear. Hybrids are made to use less gas per mileage, but a gasoline-electric hybrid still does not eliminate America’s oil dependency. There needs to be better fuels that are safer and cleaner for the environment.

Hydrogen powered vehicles are thought to be the if not the cleanest then one of the cleanest in fuel emissions. Hydrogen vehicles do not consume gasoline to operate. Fossil fuels and biomass can produce hydrogen and even electrolyzing water. In order for hydrogen to be powered, a fuel cell vehicle is required which uses electricity to power the motors located near the vehicle’s wheels. Hydrogen is a very clean fuel since it does not produce any tailpipe emissions; manufacturers say “it is the fuel of the future”. The vehicles powered by hydrogen will be cleaner for the environment, but it will most likely be expensive. More energy will be required to produce hydrogen than gasoline, so the obvious question that people need to decide is “What is more important, money or helping to save the environment they live in and where the next generation will be living?”, the answer should be obvious.

Most fuels might require people to purchase an entirely different car with the new equipped, alternative fuel, burning engine. One fuel that can be used on diesel engines without changing anything on the engine is biodiesel. Biodiesel is usually derived from plant oils or animal fats. Tradition diesel and vegetable oil are a blend to make biodiesel. Blends such as B100 (100% Biodiesel), B20 (20% Biodiesel), or other blends can be used, but higher percentages might not work on all older diesel engines. This can also be made at home without being a professor in chemistry or investing heavily in special equipment, but it is not recommended because no one wants to risk damaging their diesel engine. These fuels reduce the amount of pollutions emitted from traditional diesel engines.

Ethanol is also used as an alternative fuel to power cars; it is a good fuel which can be made in the United States without too much difficulty. E85 is the blend that is used, which is 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. It is a renewable fuel that comes from agricultural feedstocks, and thus can be produced domestically. Like other alternative fuels, ethanol produces fewer pollutions than gasoline. Using ethanol made from corn instead of gasoline would lead to a moderate 13 percent reduction in greenhouse emissions and using cellulosic ethanol from feedstocks such as switchgrass, could result in 88 percent less greenhouse gas emissions, which will help reduce pollution in the environment .
One of the alternative energies that can eliminate oil dependency completely when it comes to transportation is natural gas. Natural gas does not use oil; it is a mixture of hydrocarbons, predominantly methane . There are two types of natural gas that can be used, compressed natural gas , and liquefied natural gas . Both must be stored on board a vehicle and both burn cleaner than gasoline. With CNG powered vehicles, it is possible to refuel the car with a natural gas line from a house, but it can take hours to do so. Owners of any current car can convert to CNG or LNG but it will be costly.

Other sources of energy used to power cars or other transportation vehicles are electricity and solar powered energy. They can both use improvements and adjustments to make it much more exceptional for usage. Electric powered cars are compact and are usually only able to produce low speeds. Electric powered cars usually need to be recharged often meaning it can not go as far as usual with other fuel sources or energy. These cars are usually able to be charged in a standard 110v outlet. Solar cars are energy efficient since it uses the sun’s rays for energy and they produce zero emissions. Some luxuries such as air conditioning would not be able to be powered by solar rays and some areas do not get that much sunlight through out the year depending on the season in some places, which will be a bad choice for that area since solar cars are dependent on the sun.
The affects of pollutions caused from automobiles are very harmful at high levels. These pollutions come from every gasoline burning car and there are many cars being driven everyday. Three hundred million tons of carbon are emitted into the atmosphere each year in the U.S. by cars and light trucks, including SUV’s, pickups, and most minivans. Carbon monoxide is a pollutant coming from motor vehicles which is the number one source for carbon monoxide pollution. When inhaled by humans, it combines with hemoglobin in their blood, impairing the flow of oxygen to the brain and other parts of the body.

Oxides such as sulfur oxide or oxides from nitrous are also emitted from cars. They are both harmful to the respiratory system. Both pollutions can cause acid rain which damages other living things in the environment such as trees, crops, lakes and can even damage a building. Tiny particles of smoke, soot and dust are known as particulate matter, which are primarily from engines, car parts, tires, and diesel exhaust. Particulate matter is very harmful to the human lungs and can cause cardiovascular disease. The EPA estimates that particulate pollution kills more than 60,000 people per year.

Hydrocarbons directly irritate the lungs and can cause cancer, contribute to birth defects, and cause other illnesses. Lead can also damage organs in the body and can affect the brain, nerves, heart, and blood . Car pollutions are everywhere, but drivers can be exposed to more pollutions in their car than outside. While on freeways the pollutions emitted from the cars in front of the driver are aimed towards them since they are following behind them. Windows rolled up would not help and is not an effective way to reduce exposure at all.

The number one and most dominant pollutant from motor vehicles is carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide contributes to global warming in a very significant way. A gallon of gasoline weighs just over 6 pounds. When burned, the carbon in it combines with oxygen from the air to produce nearly 20 pounds of carbon dioxide. These pollutions are increasing the chances of global warming to rise. There are many problems that global warming can cause. Flood and thinning of artic ice is a problem from global warming, which has been proven in the artic area on earth. More disease carrying mosquitoes are more widely know to exist due to global warming and its effects. Changes in global weather patterns and ecosystems can exist, including flooding, severe storm, and droughts. Global warming can also cause more deaths in large cities in the United States during the summer. Global warming will be significant in weather disaster which can increase deaths and damage the eco-system and environment .

Because of the scarcity of oil and gas, the prices keep increasing since the supply is getting smaller and the demand is already big. Interests in alternative fuels are increasing as oil prices are beginning to get higher. Almost all of America’s whole transportation sector relies on oil. Since it is not a renewable resource, it should not be used out on transportation. Oil is still used for the nation’s power supply and other sources that require oil. The best option to act on before oil runs out is to make cars non oil dependent. Not only will it help reserve and save some oil supply but it will help protect the environment from being polluted with carbon dioxide and other harmful pollutions.

A great way to help out is to have financial agreements or deals when buying an alternative fuel car to encourage people to buy it. Companies such as Honda are known for having alternative fuels for certain models of their car selections. Honda offers hybrid vehicles and also has a car powered by natural gas. More car companies are finding new ways and more fuels to offer. This is a good start, but most people would not be able to afford these safer fuel burning cars, so they will either stick to their harmful polluting car or buy another car that they can afford, which will most likely be another gasoline burning car. There has to be ways to enforce buying a car safer and cleaner for the environment and everything living on it. Car companies should offer ways for people with low incomes to make payments on their car affordable to them such as paying smaller amounts for a longer period to pay it off.

A great method that should be enforced to help save the economy is offering optional
engine swaps. If this was possible then more people would be able to bring their car in a shop and swap their older engine with a new, cleaner engine that could fit in their same car. There are ways to swap an engine with another engine from a completely different car, so there has to be a way to offer engines that can be installed for anyone who would like a cleaner fuel burning engine, which is much safer for the environment . Financial options should be available since the environment, and everyone who lives on it, is much important than car companies getting quick money.

No one should have to wait and witness what happens when the environment is completely polluted and gasoline is gone. There has to be changes made soon, the sooner the change the better for the world and everything living in it. Today the amount of pollutions of carbon coming from the fuel that automobiles and other transportation vehicles are burning are worse than ever. The best option is to start an official change for a safer fuel or technology for transportation to help protect the environment. America could start to help save the environment instead of waiting for someone else to, in many people’s eyes America is viewed as a leader so it would not hurt to be the leader in starting to save earth’s environment, in fact it will help out in a plenteous amount. It is best to start now instead of waiting for the problems to exist where it will be much harder to handle and even more out of control.

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