Why Are Hybrid Cars Friendly to the Environment?

In the current age of soaring oil prices and increasing global warming, it has become crucial to curtailing the use of fuels that pose a serious threat to the environment and consider other environment-friendly options. Hybrid vehicles, in contrast to traditionally run fuel-based vehicles, have the potential to “improve fuel economy” (Manzie, Watson, Halgamuge & Lim, 2006).

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In the paper, the researcher aims to reveal the many problems of pollution to the environment and thereby highlight the many reasons why hybrid cars and vehicles are environmentally friendly and have the potential to reduce fuel emissions, thereby having a direct positive effect on the atmosphere and the environment.

The rising oil prices and the damages caused by vehicles to the environment to the planet Earth have resulted in car owners and potential buyers seeking alternative modes of transport which would reduce the hazards of pollution and destruction to the Earth. It has now become a well-known fact that the resources of the Earth are finite and this would obviously result in the prices of gasoline rises. In this respect, hybrid cars are not only fuel-efficient but also cause relatively less damage to the environment.

One gallon of gas when combusted combines with the oxygen to produce as much as twenty pounds of carbon dioxide which is released in the air causing detrimental effects to the atmosphere. According to an article on hybrid cars (online), transportation emissions are the primary sources of carbon dioxide emission into the atmosphere with the on-road vehicles of America consuming 8.2 million barrels of oil per day resulting in more than 300 metric tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. This makes transportation pollution the major contributor of carbon dioxide pollutants into the atmosphere, to the tune of one-third of all the other pollutants.

The environmental Defense also confirms that almost all of the automobile companies have substantially increased their carbon emissions in the past fifteen years. The results of these emissions are apparent throughout the world.

With the steady increase in global warming, the arctic ice is not only thinning; it is also beginning to melt at a very rapid pace. This has in turn resulted in the rising of sea levels which could result in increased and sudden flash floods, with the potential to affect more than twenty million people and families all the world over.

The detrimental effects of climate and temperature changes also produce many other changes in the environment, which have a devastating effect on the overall nature cycle. With the early arrival of spring and the increase in the heat and duration of the growing season, the agricultural produce of countries is severely affected. This has the potential to affect and render hungry several millions of people all over the world.

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The extended summers in the United States of America could also cause severe and drastic changes in the cycles and the ecosystems. A report by the Pentagon (2004) also affirms that abrupt climatic changes could pose the risk of reduced food supplies, air, and water to the entire human community of the world. All these devastating effects can be highly reduced if the U.S. became more fuel-efficient and reduced the carbon emissions by cars and vehicles.

Besides the many ill effects on the environment of the earth, fuel emissions also cause innumerable health problems in humans. The outdoor carbon released from the vehicles into the atmosphere is the cause of major diseases of the respiratory tract, including the lungs. The pollutants also have severely damaging effects on the immune system of the body by causing a reduction in the oxygen supply to the body tissue, coupled with the increased pollutants from the atmosphere. Thus we can see the many devastating effects of the carbon emissions from vehicles on the environment and subsequently on the health of humans.

It has been accepted that the most fuel-efficient cars of modern times are hybrid cars and vehicles. Research and development in the auto industry are underway for processing newer and enhanced models of hybrid cars including plug-in hybrids, battery-operated electric vehicles, and intelligent hybrid cars so that there is an overall reduction in the carbon emissions from vehicles, which are the major contributors of pollutants to the environment.

Hybrid cars are now gaining popularity and increased production, due to these factors and governments are working with companies to ensure their affordability to the majority of car owners. The advantages of hybrid cars over other conventionally run gasoline cars are their potential to save on gasoline, which is not only hazardous to the environment when it burns, but also getting extremely expensive by the day. It has now been researched and proven that hybrid cars have electric motors which provide clean energy as compared to the cars that run on gasoline.

It is also a commonly known fact that the toxic substances emitted from hybrid cars are comparatively lower as compared to cars that work on conventional fuels like diesel and petrol. The environmental friendliness is primarily due to the fact that the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from hybrid cars is highly reduced as compared to traditional gasoline cars. Carbon dioxide is the primary factor for the rise in global warming which has drastic implications for the entire humanity.

The ability of hybrid cars and vehicles to work on dual engines equips the cars to save on fuel and reduce emissions. The hybrid vehicles comprise electric engines which generate electrical energy and this engine is additionally combined with another engine, to ensure smooth operation of the vehicle.

Manzie et al. (2006) affirm that the use of the ‘electric motor’ in hybrid cars enhances the reduction of “energy inefficiencies of the internal combustion engine without unduly sacrificing vehicle performance”. The authors also affirm the success of hybrid cars by stating the example of two global companies, ‘Toyota’ and ‘Honda’ which have produced hybrid cars that have been successful in reducing the consumption of fuel as compared to the conventionally designed cars. With the escalating fuel consumption in the urban areas to the tune of “50 percent” as compared to driving on the highways, there is an urgent necessity of economizing the fuel consumption of cars.

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The development and success of the interior engines of hybrid cars have been one of the major breakthroughs in the automotive industry, and this technology enables the saving of energy, thereby making the car extremely friendly to the environment. This technological innovation has also popularized hybrid cars for their convenient usability.

Hybrid cars are proven to be highly cost-effective, due to the use of an “extra electrical generator” which functions to convert the mechanical energy into electrical energy, when the car is idle, and this energy is then stored in the batteries for future driving use (Bi & Wang, 2006). Not only does this concept make the hybrid cars extremely fuel-efficient, which subsequently results in a reduction of the emission levels of the car (Bi & Wang, 2006).

The advanced technology of hybrid cars being able to run batteries also ensures reduced carbon emissions. The batteries are used to store power and to subsequently generate this power when required so that the car can run efficiently with minimized fuel consumption. The primary benefits of the fuel efficiency of hybrid cars are the reduced emissions of “CO2 and SOx emissions, in addition to the reduction in hydrocarbons, CO, and NOx” (Bi & Wang, 2006).

Additional advantages of hybrid cars besides the reduction in fuel emissions and reduced gasoline requirement, these cars, and vehicles operating on internal electric engines and motors cause a substantial reduction in the noise levels of the atmosphere.

The gases emitted by normal cars namely Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Oxides, and Hydrocarbons are all released due to the burning of gasoline and have an extremely polluting effect on the atmosphere. These gases are therefore more commonly referred to as greenhouse gases and have a profound effect on the atmosphere of the Earth, trapping the heat in the atmosphere which should and usually would be reflected back into space. This unwanted heat results in the phenomenon of global warming which subsequently affects the climatic conditions of the world and results in innumerable natural problems.

As an alternative, hybrid cars can function optimally, working in combination with electric motors and small petrol engines so that they have extremely low fuel emissions. A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston (2003), reveals the initiatives of the White House to increase the development of cars which reduce the cost of fuels and bring down carbon emissions in the country. According to the research, hybrid cars have the potential to reduce the demand of America for foreign oil, by “11 million barrels per day by 2040” (U.S. Energy Department).

Thus we can see that there is an urgent need to address the environmental issues and problems facing the world due to emissions from cars and vehicles. The ever-increasing oil prices have necessitated car companies to consider the use of other clean and green alternatives in car manufacturing technology. In modern times, Hybrid cars are considered to be a viable option to the traditionally driven gasoline cars with the battery-operated functioning and reduced carbon emissions, which is crucial for reducing the environmental effects of pollutants due to vehicles.

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References

Bi Hsiaotao & Wang Dianle, (2006). An Evaluation of the AirCare Program Based on Cost-Benefit and Cost-Effectiveness Analyses. Bulletin of Science Technology Society; 26; 472.

Global Warming & Your Vehicle Choice (2006). Web.

Health Effects from Auto Pollution (2006). Web.

Manzie C., Watson H C., Halgamuge S., & Lim K., (2006). A comparison of fuel consumption between hybrid and intelligent vehicles during urban driving Proc. IMechE Vol. 220 Part D: J. Automobile Engineering.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston (2008). Web.

United States Department of Energy. Web.

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