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Alternative Fueled Vehicles

Essay by   •  April 5, 2011  •  1,656 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,261 Views

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Alternative Fuels: The Efficient Way to the Future

Lotus Rental Cars first opened its doors in Phoenix, Arizona with a $15,000 investment by I.M. Poster. Founded as a rental car agency for value-minded renters, Lotus Rental Cars is one of the worldЃfs best known rental brands. In order to provide a higher quality of customer service, Lotus Rental Cars made its Internet debut in 1994. As an industry leader, Lotus Rental Cars today remains committed to serve budget-minded renters by offering a wide range of high quality vehicles through a network of over 900 worldwide locations. TodayЃfs consumer, however, demands not only the convenience of quick service, but also seeks the highest quality merchandise at a reasonable price. Lotus Rental Cars, in order to continue delivering quality rentals to conscious customers, has expressed an interest in including alternative fueled vehicles to their fleet of rental cars. ]

The destruction of the earthЃfs natural resources has been a topic of great concern. In the US, consumers have reached a higher level of awareness of the potential and effect of pollution in the environment. In an Internet Poll conducted in between October 2007 and January 2007, 19% of the participants replied they currently own or are considering the purchase of an alternative fueled vehicle. 33% showed an interest in renting an alternative fueled vehicle if given the option.

Air pollution is one factor that is widely considered responsible for the changes in global climate. With the introduction of automobiles in the early 20th century, the amounts of chemicals released into the atmosphere have increased. Governments worldwide have introduced laws to limit the number of toxins released by the industrial sector. The emission of carbon dioxide and other chemicals included in gasoline exhaust, however, remains one of the largest sources of pollution. Fortunately, technological advances have made it possible to create alternate fuels that are not only cleaner but also more efficient when compared to fossil fuels, which are still dominate in the transportation industry.

Petroleum supplies are limited worldwide. As the supply of petroleum diminishes, the necessity for alternative fuel sources becomes greater. Although there are many promising fuel alternatives available, they are still not widely used. The Federal Government offers exciting tax incentives for businesses who newly purchase or lease hybrid vehicles.

One promising fuel alternative is biodiesel. The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) defines biodiesel as a Ѓgclean burning alternative fuelЃh that is made from natural and renewable resources domestically. The NBB continues this definition by adding biodiesel is a fuel alternative that does not contain petroleum, but has the ability to be blended with petroleum diesel in order to Ѓgcreate a biodiesel blendЃh.

The NBB reports that sales of biodiesel have shown continued growth in the US since 1999. In 2005, 75 million gallons were sold; up 300% from the previous year. This can be attributed to many factors, one which is the availability of biodiesel being distributed in every state.

Offering biodiesel cars will not diminish the selection of vehicles. There is a wide variety of biodiesel compatible cars for every class on the market. According to the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), Jeep Liberty, Volkswagen, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, and even Mercedes Benz offer diesel models in their fleets. The NBB also reports other car manufacturers such as Toyota, Honda, BMW, Mazda and Jaguar are planning to introduce new high-performance diesel models within the next few years. Adding biodiesel models to the rental car fleet does not require a large investment. The US Department of Energy says biodiesel can be used in cars that use traditional petroleum diesel with little or even no modification.

When adding new cars to the fleet, diesel models are comparable in price to gas models. According to Cindy Leong of Mercedes Benz Honolulu, the vehicle price for a ML 320 CDI diesel model and its traditional gas counterpart differs by only $1,000. (C. Leong, personal communication, January 13, 2007) David Page of Volkswagon Honolulu confirmed that the price difference between the diesel and gas models of the 2006 Jetta differ by only $1500. (D. Page, personal communication, January 13, 2007)

Another exciting fuel option is Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), sometimes called AUTOGAS. NETT Technologies defines LPG as Ѓga mixture of petroleum and natural gases that exist in a liquid state at ambient temperatures when under moderate pressures.Ѓh In Canada and the US, LPG is propane based, whereas in Europe, the propane content is less than 50%.

Environmentally friendly, LPG has a higher octane content than regular gasoline, resulting in cleaner burning. LPG also does not leave carbon deposits or lead that leads to premature wear down of car parts such as valves, spark plugs and pistons. Because the engine remains carbon free and clean, less maintenance is necessary. When compared with gas engines, propane engines also produce less pollution. The emissions of carbon monoxide are lowered between 50 to 92% than gas fueled engines.

This economically friendly fuel product has been used for decades in European cities such as Holland, Italy and France as well as in Japan and Australia. North West Gases reports that worldwide, there are more than 4 million taxicabs that run on LPG, including 90% of all taxis in Japan!

When compared with conventional gasoline, LPG is an economical fuel option that lowers the costs of vehicle maintenance and fuel costs. According to David Lampitt of Guide Friday, ЃgLPG is (as) the most practical and economical alternative to diesel.Ѓh

One of the most well-known alternative fueled vehicles is the hybrid car. Any vehicle is considered a hybrid when it uses a combination of two or more power sources. Hybrid-electric vehicles use a combination of a rechargeable battery and gasoline to run on. Although hybrid-electric cars represent only one percent of the market share, sales are rapidly rising. According to Greenlight magazine, there were only 20,782 hybrid sales in the United States during 2001. By 2005, consumers were waiting up to six-months to have their new hybrids delivered. Greenlight magazine estimates the number to exceed the half a million mark in 2009.

Why are hybrid-electric cars so popular? One reason is because

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