Today more than ever, people are realizing the importance of living an environmentally friendly lifestyle. To accomplish this they are making changes in all aspects of their lives, including the cars that they drive and how they drive them. This is important because of the negative impact that driving has on the environment, such as releasing greenhouse gases that lead to global warming. In addition, they are also major contributors to smog and generally unhealthy air. Fortunately, there are numerous alternatives that people can consider when it comes to the types of cars that they purchase and the fuels that they use.
Hybrid cars are arguably the most recognizable and common type of green vehicle on the market. They are defined as a type of car that is powered by two separate fuel sources. In terms of the current, popular hybrids, these fuels sources are electricity produced by the electric motor and an internal combustion engine which relies on gasoline. These types of cars are commonly referred to as hybrid electric vehicles, or HEVs. Hybrid cars are good for the environment as they produce fewer emissions, are fuel-efficient, and have superior gas mileage.
Fuels that are made from new or used canola or vegetable oils, such as those made from soybeans, or from animal fats, are called biodiesel fuels. Cars that run on biodiesel fuel are known as biodiesel cars. Currently, there are no cars or trucks that are specifically manufactured or sold as "biodiesel cars" in the U.S.; however, certain diesel cars and trucks may safely use lower blends of this type of fuel. Before attempting to use biodiesel in one's diesel vehicle, checking with the manufacturer is advisable to ensure that it is safe. It is also necessary to discover what blend works best with the specific vehicle's make and model. In addition, it is important to check if the use of biodiesel will affect the vehicle's warranty and how. Biodiesel blends range from B100 to B5. When purchasing B100, a person is purchasing pure biodiesel that has not been mixed with any amount of conventional diesel. For other blends, the amount of biodiesel is represented by the number value follows the letter "B." For example, B20 biodiesel contains 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent conventional diesel. When using B5, five percent of the fuel is biodiesel with the remaining 95 percent being conventional diesel. The green benefits of driving a biodiesel car are attributed to the decrease of toxic emissions and greenhouse gases. In addition to the decrease in emissions, biodiesel is a renewable source of energy that helps to reduce the country's dependency on oil.
Ethanol cars are cars that are made to use ethanol as a fuel source. This type of green fuel is beneficial because it is made from a renewable source, such as corn. In addition to being renewable, there are other environmental advantages to driving a car that uses ethanol. For example, cars that use ethanol also produce less greenhouse gases, thereby contributing less to global warming.
At present, the only cars that are made specifically for ethanol use are flex-fuel vehicles. Some automakers allow the use of a blend of ethanol called E10 in their traditional gasoline vehicles. This blend contains only ten percent ethanol to ninety percent gasoline. The blend of ethanol that is used in ethanol cars or flexible fuel vehicles is E85, which contains 85 percent ethanol and fifteen percent gasoline.
Natural gas is made primarily of methane and comes in two forms when used as fuel for cars. These forms are Compressed Natural Gas, or CNG, and Liquefied Natural Gas, or LNG. There are two types of cars that run on natural gas, dedicated natural gas vehicles and dual-fuel vehicles. As the name suggests, dedicated gas vehicles are designed specifically for natural gas and cannot run on any other type of fuel. Dual-fuel vehicles run on gasoline or natural gas. Some dual-fuel cars may run on diesel and natural gas as well.
There are a number of advantages to driving a car that uses natural gas as fuel. As one of the cleanest burning fuels, it will produce up to 45 percent less of the pollutants that contribute to smog, and will emit as much as nine percent less greenhouse gases. Because ninety to ninety-four percent of the natural gas used in the U.S. is produced in the U.S., it also reduces the country's dependency on foreign oil.
Selecting the right car and alternative fuel is only one of the ways that a person can extend their green lifestyle to include their car. There are numerous green tips that apply to how one drives and maintains his or her auto. Something as simple as checking for leaks can reduce the amount of chemicals that can wash down into storm drains and into rivers and lakes. Taking care not to spill gasoline at the gas pump can also prevent unnecessary pollution. When changing the fluids in one's car, help protect the environment by collecting used motor oil and antifreeze and take them to a recycling center, as opposed to dumping them down a storm drain. Checking the pressure in tires can improve a car's mileage and, as a result, reduce the number of times a person must fill up his or her tank. Altering one's driving habits can also reduce the amount of gasoline that is burned. While on the road, lower the car windows during hot air conditions if driving forty-five miles-per-hour or slower. If the car goes above forty-five, put the windows up and turn on the air conditioner instead. Unnecessary idling also burns up more gas than it takes to turn off and restart a vehicle.