Carbon emissions produced by automobiles, airplanes and industrial equipment are the primary source of pollution world over. However, it is the consumption of energy by households and automobiles that make the major contribution towards the worlds carbon footprint (Cast 24). With United States being the largest economy and the most developed nation, it is no surprise that we are the largest polluters on earth. It is therefore imperative for us to lead by example and take some action in order to reduce our contribution towards global pollution.
This essay will discuss whether it is possible to reduce fuel consumption by cars and if there are any alternative sources of energy for cars. (Cast 35) Fuel Consumption by Cars: As mentioned earlier, automobiles are one of the largest fuel consumers and therefore are a major contributor towards pollution. For this particular reason, environmental groups and even governments in some countries have been encouraging people to minimize the use of private transport and use other alternatives such as public transport, cycling, telecommuting etc (Cast 39).
It should however be noted that not all alternatives to private transportation suit the needs of individuals and therefore it is very likely people will continue to use private transportation. A more practical approach towards the reduction of fuel consumption therefore will be to switch to relatively environmentally friendly sources of energy (Cast 39). The electric car has long been presented as a true alternative to the vehicles that use an internal combustion engine.
It utilizes chemical energy stored in batteries and emits little or zero carbon. Not only are these vehicles environmentally friendly but is also fuel efficient. Proponents of electric vehicles also argue that the cost of producing electric vehicles is much lower than standard vehicles (Boschert 90). The only pitfall with electric cars is that currently there are only limited cars available in the market that can be considered purely electrical. Major automobile manufacturers have been accused of trying to block the progress on this front.
It is also important to note that whatever progress has been made for the development of electric cars, there are not sophisticated enough models available in the market to meet the demands of the customers or to compete with the standard products. Until that level of sophistication is achieved, it will not be possible for the electrical car models to replace their standard counterparts. It should also be noted that to make a transition from an ICE vehicle dominated market to a zero-emission vehicle market, proper infrastructure for the supply of electrical batteries will have to be developed.
(Boschert 97-102) The new breed of hybrid vehicles, introduced by some leading automobile manufacturers such as Toyota and Ford, is a rather practical solution to the problem. Not only they allow consumers to make a rather smooth transition from carbon fuel consumption to electric fuel but also offer the features and benefits offered by the standard models (Boschert 140). Hybrid electric vehicles are also more durable as compared to ICEs and are more energy efficient. Market statistics indicate that HEVs are a more favourable option as compared to pure electric vehicles.
With Toyota and Honda leading the market in the HEV sector other major players are also entering this arena including Audi, Nissan, Lexus and Ford. It should however be noted that production of Hybrid vehicles is more costly and therefore they are more expensive. However, with countries introducing legislations concerning the environment and introducing subsidies for environmentally friendly vehicles, this is likely to change in the years to come. (Boschert 151) Criticism of Green Cars:
Although, going green sounds to be the next big thing not only for car makers but also a number of other manufacturing organizations, there has been some level of opposition to this new wave of environmental obsession. Organizations tied to major oil revenues are one of the major opponent who argue that a radical shift to greener cars will damage the economy and will lead to a considerable loss of jobs in certain sectors. It is also argued that electric vehicles or HEVs still have some environmental impact and are not completely emission-free as is usually argued.
In addition to this, electric or hybrid cars are also more costly, hence making them an unfavourable choice for the consumer. (Boschert 211) Conclusion: The rapid change in our environment demands that we take immediate action. One of the areas that we need to address in this respect is to reduce the consumption of planets resources and to minimize the carbon footprint produced by us. As automobiles are one of the major producers of carbon emission, automobile manufacturers are investing considerable resources in development of environmentally friendly products.However, they still have a long way to go and a considerable level of development has to be made.
Cast, C. Vance. Where Does Pollution Come From? Barrons Educational Series April, 1994. http://www. amazon. com/Where-Does-Pollution-Clever-Calvin/dp/0812015711/ref=sr_1_13? ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1207538767&sr=8-13 Boschert, Sherry. Plug-in Hybrids: The Cars that will Recharge America, New Society Publishers December, 2006 http://www. amazon. com/Plug-Hybrids-CarsRechargeAmerica/dp/0865715718/ref=sr_1_8_s9_rk? ie=UTF8&s=books&s9r=8a585b4317a113eb0117a8105c020138&itemPosition=8&qid=1207538919&sr=1-8