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Alternative Fuels

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Alternative Fuels

Today’s environment is polluted with many carbon and other pollutions harmful to humans and the environment. Many of these pollutions are mostly from transportation vehicles. More dangers are rising, 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 America can use alternative fuels for a cleaner and safer environment when using transportation.

There are several fuels in the environment which are claimed to be safer and cleaner. They include hydrogen, biodiesel, ethanol, and natural gas. Other options for different energy sources are solar powered energy or electric powered energy. 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. There are other companies such as Chevrolet, Mazda, Lexus, Mercury, Ford, and Saturn who are beginning to offer this feature to their customers.

Today there are hybrid cars, they still use gasoline but just a fewer amount of it, it is a good start but there needs to be more reliable fuels 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 they still use gasoline, it uses less gas than a regular gasoline powered vehicle. There are also 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 (Hayhurst 1). There needs to be better fuels that are safer and cleaner for the environment.

Hydrogen powered vehicles are thought to be the cleanest in fuel emissions. Hydrogen vehicles do not consume gasoline to operate. Fossil fuels and biomass can produce hydrogen and even electrolyzing water (“Hydrogen” 1). 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” (“Hydrogen” 1). 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, which already exists, is biodiesel. It is usually derived from plant oils or animal fats. Tradition diesel and vegetable oil are a blend to make biodiesel (Worley 1). 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 (Worley 1).

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 (“What is Ethanol?” 1). Like other alternative fuels, ethanol produces fewer pollutants 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 (“Ethanol: Pros and Cons” 1).

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 (CH4). There are two types of natural gas that can be used, compressed natural gas (CNG), and liquefied natural gas (LNG). 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 (“Cars and the Environment” 1).

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 (Adi 1).

The affects of pollutants caused from automobiles are very harmful at high levels. These

pollutants 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 (“Cars and the Environment” 1). 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



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