The contribution that diesel fuels have made to greenhouse gasses is undeniable. As man continues to depend upon fossil fuels for energy and transportation, concerned scientists and consumers are seeking alternative options. Green cars are an important way that consumers can reduce their carbon footprint and choose fuel sources that are cleaner, sustainable, and renewable. There are several ways that scientists have designed methods to help combat the problem. Some popular environmentally friendly vehicles include hybrid cars, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, battery electric, and vehicles that use clean energy. Popular diesel alternatives include vegetable oil and biodiesel. By choosing these options, consumers can reduce their contributions to greenhouse gasses and help protect the environment.
Going Green with Cars
Green vehicles are cars that are environmentally friendly due to the fuel that is used to power the car. There are different fuel solutions that can be used to ensure the vehicle has the power needed, all without emitting the level of harmful chemicals found in most diesel fuels. Fuels consist of diesel, gasoline, and those classified as alternative. These often include any material other than fuels such as propane, coal, natural gas, or oil (petroleum).
- Green Vehicle Guide: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a search engine for consumers to compare the fuel efficiency of cars. Clean Cars:
- Clean Cars: The Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance (DPPEA) looks at the characteristics and qualities of green cars.
- Plug in Electric Vehicles: A Practical Plan for Progress: Indiana University examines the future of electric vehicles in his PDF document.
- The 21st Century Car: Stanford University examines the case for battery operated, electric cars in this PDF document.
- Biodiesel Fuel: An overview of biodiesel fuel from North Dakota State University
Hybrids and Plug-Ins
Hybrid vehicles are described as those that use two or more power sources. The most common types of hybrid vehicles are those that use an internal combustion engine combined with electricity. Some other popular green car is a plug in or electric vehicles. Plug in hybrids may use both gas and electricity, providing more options while at the same time, reducing the amount of dangerous fuel emissions. Those who use plug in hybrid vehicles for local driving may find they never need to purchase gasoline and can perform all their driving from their electric charge.
- Hybrid Technology: A History of Hybrid Technology from the Penn State.
- A Study on Hybrid Cars: Environmental Effects and Consumer Habits: Worcester Polytechnic Institute examines the history of hybrid cars. (PDF)
- Plug-In Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Research Center: The University of California, Davis launched a research project that studies plug in hybrid and electric vehicles.
- Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles: The University of Missouri examines plug-in vehicles and their future.
- Hybrid Car: Hybrid Electric Vehicles: Clemson University examines questions associated with hybrid vehicles.
Biodiesel may best be defined as an alternative fuel source that is produced from a renewable resource and burns clean. As greenhouse gasses contribute to global warming, more consumers are looking for safe, fuel alternatives that are better for the environment. Though biodiesel may be formulated from vegetable or animal based fats, it is often treated with alcohol to make it industry standard. This varies from straight vegetable oil and the two should not be confused.
- National Biodiesel Board: The official site for the NBB that looks for ways to create cleanable, renewable fuel.
- European Biodiesel Board: Non-profit organization that focuses on finding biodiesel sources for Europe.
- Biodiesel: The U.S. Department of Energy discusses biodiesel fuel.
- Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance: Nonprofit organization that examines the benefits of biodiesel and follows scientific breakthroughs and developments in the field.
- Biodiesel Education University of Idaho: The University of Idaho follows recent developments in the field of biodiesel and renewable fuel sources.
Vegetable Oil Fuel
Diesel fuel is one of the most damaging to earth’s atmosphere and scientists are currently seeking newer, cleaner alternative fuel methods to replace petroleum based fuel sources. Vegetable oil fuel is an alternative fuel that has shown great use as an acceptable fuel source. Biodiesel fuel is composed of vegetable oil; however, it is separate from vegetable oil fuel. Vegetable oil fuel may be pure plant (PPO), used straight and without any additives (SVO), or it may be vegetable oil that has been discarded from a company, such as a restaurant. Discarded vegetable oil is referred to as waste vegetable oil (WVO). Scientists and engineers continue to explore the best methods for utilizing vegetable oil fuel.
- Historical Perspectives on Vegetable Oil Based Diesel Fuels: Oakland University looks at the historical aspect of using vegetable oil for fuel.
- Canola Oil Fuel Cell Demonstrations: Market Availability of Agricultural Crops for Fuel Cell Applications. (PDF)
- Production of Biodiesel from Vegetable Oil by Transesterification process Using Continuous Enzymatic Reactor: The Center for Environmental Farming Systems
- Producing Biodiesel for Municipal Vehicle Fleets from Recycled Cooking Oil: PDF file from Auburn University examines the benefits of using cooking oil as biodiesel.
- Vegetable Oils as Fuel Alternatives: The USDA looks at using vegetable fuels as an alternative to diesel fuel in this PDF document.
Green Car Facts
Hybrid and other green cars can produce up to 90% less harmful emissions and pollutants than standard diesel vehicles. The United States government, in an effort to encourage consumers to purchase more green vehicles, has designed a rating system. Consumers may compare cars and determine how much miles per gallon each receives. Additionally, those who purchase hybrid and environmentally friendly vehicles may be eligible for a tax deduction. An estimated one commuter spends approximately 62 hours of traffic per year. Considering that you can eliminate up to 90% of pollutants by switching to a green car, you can help save the environment in an effective and efficient manner.
- Careers in Electric Vehicles: The United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics looks at the future of electric vehicle job opportunities in this PDF document.
- MPG for Electric Cars? The UC San Diego Department of Physics looks at how much savings you can really get by switching to electric cars.
- Will Electric Cars Transform the U.S. Vehicle Market? Experts with the Belfer Center at Harvard University examine the effects of electric vehicles on the American car market.
- Electric Car: Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth looks at the history of electric vehicles in this PDf document.
- Gasoline Vehicles, Hybrids Emit Less Pollution than Diesel Autos: The Federal Highway Administration looks at new trends to keep gasoline and hybrids utilizing cleaner fuel sources.
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