March 12, 2012
Incredible Contribution Of Hybrid Cars To The Natural Environment
It seems that the hybrids car is all the rage. News reports crow regarding their many miles per gallon and low emissions. Hybrids are amongst the best-selling models in America for both American and foreign car makers. And hybrids do not need to be compact – there are even hybrid model sport utility vehicles (branded as SUVs, in brief).
Some consumers are left scratching their heads regarding all this hullabaloo. Why should a hybrid car be so eye-catching to many people? One reason, needless to say, is soaring gas prices. While the price of crude oil shoots up, whether due to short-term problems like those in Libya or long-term problems like depleting global petroleum reserves, the price of gasoline at the local gas station rises also.
Mainly because hybrid cars (so named because they are powered by two fuel sources: electricity and gasoline) use less fuel, they offer savings to the consumer over the life of the car. However hybrid cars also are more expensive than ‘normal’ cars. That cost is driven mainly by the price of the new, patented technologies unique to each car maker. But it also owes it to the expensive component parts, such as those used to make the bigger batteries incorporated in the car.
Whether even the best hybrid car really ‘saves’ any money will depend on how much fuel prices rise while the car is used. However another reason (and one which makes more mathematical sense than fuel prices) is concern for the environment. Even if, as seems probably, a hybrid car will cost more over its lifetime than an equivalent gas-powered car, it will be better for the environment.
There are two reasons hybrid cars benefit the environment. First of all, hybrids use less gasoline, and thus less crude oil. Because oil is a diminishing resource used for lots of things besides fueling cars, using less of it benefits everyone and moves us closer to a sustainable economy. What is implied by sustainable? Sustainable economies are the ones that do not deplete their resources to zero.
By utilizing less fuel, hybrid owners move the world (slightly) nearer to a sustainable global economy, whereas in the current economy it is predict that global petroleum reserves will expire sometime this century. This benefits the environment mainly because many cheap alternatives to petroleum emit more air-borne pollutants when burned: coal, for instance. The second way that hybrids benefit the environment is by emitting much less exhaust fumes.
Because hybrid cars do not use their internal combustion engines consistently, but instead are powered sporadically by stored electricity, they burn much less fuel. A consequence of burning less fuel is that they also spout fewer exhaust fumes into the air. This benefits the environment in a number of ways. First, of course, it enhances air quality on the ground. Car exhaust fumes are terrible for people, and reducing the amount in the air helps make everyone healthier.
Second, car exhaust fumes contain carbon dioxide, which can erode the world’s ozone layer. That could, in turn, give rise to global warming (some scientists say that it already has). So it is easy to see that while hybrids might benefit their users if gas prices sky-rocket, they benefit the world much more, by reducing reliance on crude oil and cutting emissions of carbon dioxide into our air, both at the ground level and in our atmosphere. Which is a very big deal.