Global Warming: Choosing a Fuel Efficient and Eco-Friendly Car
How to Select an Eco Friendly Vehicle
Are you in the market for a new/used eco-friendly car? Are you trying to figure out if an eco-friendly car is for you? Or are you just trying to make sense of what all this new “going green” eco-friendly talk is about? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions then this article is for you. A few things to think about before you get started are: your price range; your needs- what the vehicle (the word vehicle represents the three major groups: sedans, trucks, and SUVs) needs to be able to do, how many passengers there are; and on average how many miles you drive per day.
Note: There will be some minor mathematical calculations involved in comparing cars, do not let this discourage you just take it slow.
Assess your needs.When looking for a car, one of the biggest things to consider are your needs. How big is your family/how many passengers do you need to be able to move around? What is your lifestyle like do you have to pull a trailer or need a roof rack? Finally what is your career and commute like? Do you drive long distances to work or have to park in tight city parking spots? All of these factors determine the type of car that is right for you.
Learn what the Cost is to Maintain.The consensus is that buying an eco-friendly vehicle will pay for itself over the life of the vehicle. Data is still being collected due to the fact that this is a relatively new design. One thing to keep in mind is that since there are fewer eco friendly cars on the road today as compared to gas engines that the insurance rates may be a little higher because the parts on the car are newer technology and there is less supply of them. Another thing to keep in mind is that there is a small number of certified mechanics to work on these newer eco friendly cars so you might have to take your car to the dealership for repairs versus your local mechanic.
Take into consideration your Climate and Location.Climate is important to a vehicle’s eco-friendliness because engines and other car systems operate differently in other climates. In hot or very humid climate, engines that are very active or gasoline based are prone to overheating or consuming more fuel. In very cold climates, gasoline engines might not even function properly. Heating and cooling elements in the car are also affected by this. The more they are used, the more pollution they create. The following are the main environments that an eco-friendly vehicle will be subjected to:
- Urban...Stop and go traffic favors cars that have an easier time accelerating from a full stop. When a car takes off from stationary position ,the engine’s revolutions per minute spike, causing a loss in fuel efficiency. More fuel is consumed when RPM is high. Look for small cars or cars with smaller engines and with automatic transmission.
- Suburban...If you live in suburbs, then you will likely encounter much less stop and go traffic, as well as a lot highway driving. This situation favors cars that achieve less engine revolutions per minute at high speeds. Look for a car with more powerful engines and with manual transmission.
- Rural...Rural driving is a mix of urban and suburban driving. You are likely to encounter unpaved roads and steep inclines as much as long, traffic-free roads. Your car will also be susceptible to wear because of harsher driving conditions. Look for a car with a more powerful engine and good suspension and tires to reduce the likelihood of engine failure.
Consider your lifestyle.If your job or hobbies require you to transport large quantities of goods, small cars or cars with insufficient trunk space can quickly become a poor choice of an eco-friendly vehicle.Look for cars that have sufficient storage space so that you reduce the amount of time driving.
Family Size.You must take into account the size of your family when looking for an eco-friendly vehicle. If you have a larger family, it would become less convenient to stick to smaller vehicles. If you have a small family or are single, then a small gasoline-powered, hybrid, or flex-fuel vehicle might be more eco-friendly than a larger vehicle of the same kind.
For small families, look for a smaller vehicles that consumes less fuel and are more eco-friendly to manufacture.
For large families, look for a car that is both fuel efficient and large enough to satisfy your family’s needs.
If you commute to work, like many people do, you have to take into account the style of driving you will be doing during your commute.See Urban, Suburban and Rural sections above to figure out what kind of car to look for.
Determine Average Miles per Day.Before you finalize what kind of fuel your car is going to use, you must find out how many miles you drive on an average day. It is a good idea to tally up the total miles driven over a 2-4 week period and dividing by the amount of days that you drove the car. If you only count the miles driven in one day, you might not get an accurate number.
- Ex: 600 miles (970 km) driven over 4 weeks, but no driving is done on Sundays. Total days driven is 4 * 6 = 24. Average miles per day is 600 / 24 = 25
Consider the Fuel Sources-Benefits/Drawbacks.When you are trying to find the right eco-friendly car you must take in consideration the pros and cons of the available fuel technologies. In this section we will shed some light on the good and bad qualities of each available fuel source.
Know about its Good Gas Mileage-Gasoline...Good gas mileage is not an eco-friendly technology however; many cars today are designed to have very low emissions even exceeding the governments mandated emissions levels. The good is that these vehicles do emit very low levels of pollution while getting upwards on average of 40mpg highway and 29mpg city. The bad is that the vehicle still uses gasoline as its fuel source and this means, even though low, the fuel emissions are still being produced harming the ecosystem. Another bad to using gasoline is the price. The average price for a gallon of gasoline in the U.S. has been rising for the past two decades. Gasoline is also subject to sharp price spikes in short intervals. On average the largest spike in gasoline was .11, but could be higher or lower depending on your region
Know about alternatives.
- Bio-fuel/Bio-diesel...Bio-diesel is derived from vegetables, almost like vegetable oil. The good is that this bio-diesel fuel burns cleaner and its only emission is nitrous-oxide. You can obtain on average 30 MPG city and 42 MPG highway. The cars that run on bio-diesel have near double the engine life of their gasoline cousin. The bad of bio-diesel is that price per gallon is in line with or slightly higher than gasoline. Producing this fuel requires a large agricultural effort to keep enough food and bio-fuel to meet the demand of both industries.
- Diesel...Diesel and bio-diesel have the same MPG. Today’s diesel engines last longer and have lower emissions than gasoline but not as low as bio-diesel. The bad of diesel is that it is still made with fossil fuels and its price per gallon is still on par with gasoline or higher.
- Electric...Vehicles using electricity have been a growing alternative to combustion engines using gasoline. The good of electricity is the mile per gallon equivalent to gasoline (MPG) or in other words the measure of Kilo-Watts per 100 miles (160 km) (kW-hrs/100 miles) in electric vehicles can get up to 100MPGe highway and 85MPGe city. The electric vehicle doesn't have any of the pollution associated with fossil fuels. There is also a tremendous reduction in noise originating from the vehicle in operation. Electric technology is also very cheap to use. The bad of electric vehicles is that there are not a lot of filling stations for longer trips on the road. The home charging units are expensive around ,500 for a permanent installation. The fastest full charge you can get at home is 4 hours, the longest is 8 hours. Finally the maintenance and insurance is higher on electric vehicles due to the complexity of the electric technology.
- Hybrid...The hybrid vehicle is a combination of a combustion engine and an electric engine. The good of hybrids is that they allow you to go the extra distance on gasoline if the electric runs out. The hybrid vehicles range on average from 29 to 40 MPG city and highway respectively. It is also good that these vehicles still have substantially lower emissions than the full combustion engine. The price of the electric fill is much more affordable than the gasoline. The bad of hybrids is that they still have emissions and there is the higher cost of gasoline. The ,500 cost of the home charging units is another bad of the hybrids. Lastly, the maintenance and insurance is higher on hybrid vehicles due to the complex parts in the electric technology.
- Natural Gas...The natural gas technologies also know as compressed natural gas (CNG) is on par with gasoline except it burns cleaner. The good of CGN vehicle is that it gets 24MPG city and 36MPG highway. The bad of CGN is that it isn’t used by the average consumer. The Honda Civic GX NGV is the only vehicle in production using CNG that an individual can purchase. The rest of the available CGN vehicles are for fleet proposes only.
Video: Top 10 Cheapest Green Cars | Most Affordable Hybrids and EVs
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