Cars are one of the single greatest inventions of all time. They help us travel anywhere we want to go easily and efficiently, and they are only getting more advanced. One of the recent advancements coincides with the environmental movement: electric cars. Electric cars do not need gas to run which is incredible seeing as gas emissions from cars take a huge toll on our environment.

Gas cars work by creating a mini explosion causing the fuel to burn and creating energy that the car then uses to run off of. However, these cars have varying long and short term problems when it comes to polluting the environment. Trucks and cars emit carbon dioxide (CO2) when they burn gasoline, these CO2 emissions account for approximately 20% of the global warming pollution coming from the United States. This is a huge number that will take a lot of work to bring down. One of the ways we can try to bring this number down is by changing our habits when it comes to our vehicles. The pollution from our cars does not only affect the ozone layer, it also bleeds into the air, soil, and water. This means causing issues such as acid rain which can cause widespread damage to crops and forests. It also affects human health; it is not a coincidence that since pollution has increased with industrialization so have the cases of childhood asthma and other inflammatory lung issues.

One of the easiest ways to combat this is understanding your car and it’s role. Different cars can be better or worse at using their gas efficiently. For example, the Ram 2500 was recently rated the worst car/truck for the environment. It gets this label from a combination of the fact it weighs 8,500 lbs and only gets 18/mpg on the highway, meaning a gallon of gas is used every 18 miles. It is important when you’re buying a car to check the fuel efficiency because the lower this number is the more gas your car is emitting to pollute the atmosphere.  

One way to almost completely protect yourself from this problem is looking into an electric car. I myself did not know that much about them so I learned a lot of interesting information from my research. Electric cars work by using solely a battery pack and electric motor to run the car. This means that there is no emission of gas into the air whatsoever. Although they can produce some heat-trapping pollutants even the worst electric car is nowhere close to the pollution levels  produced by a gas run car. To “refuel” the driver has to use a special charger, however these chargers are becoming more common at gas stations as the cars become more common on the road. Although electric cars can be more expensive it is possible to find ones that cost around $30,000. In addition owners save about $1,000 a year because refueling it is so much cheaper than refueling with gas.

This all is sounding good but there are some cons. Some of the cars are not as aesthetically pleasing as a normal car. If the look of the car is very important to the buyer they may not opt for an electric car. There is also the issue of size. Most of the electric cars are smaller, four or five person cars which are not always the practical choice for larger families. Going back to charging, there are not tons of charging stations yet so it could be an issue if you were planning on taking a road trip and can limit your traveling range. The charging of the car does take longer than refueling with gas so this could be seen as an inconvenience. Once manufacturers start making more variety and being able to lessen costs, I believe more people will look into buying them.

One thought on “The future of cars

  1. Julia, I enjoyed reading your blog post. I’m a huge proponent and advocate for sustainability, so I found this entry to be relevant and informative. You did a strong job outlining some of the pros and cons of electric cars and made sure to include some of the more superficial concerns, like the car’s aesthetic and brand appeal. Admittedly, one of the major knocks against environmental cars – especially the Prius, but others as well – is that they have very bulky, awkward chassis shapes. Nonetheless, even if consumers opt to purchase more conventional cars, it is important to check the fuel mileage and efficiency to ensure a minimal environmental impact.
    Speaking of cars, I was recently researching hydrogen fuel cells as an emerging type of car engine. Basically, the fuels cells combine oxygen and hydrogen in a pressurized environment to charge the motor. These turbines are incredibly efficient – they can reduce gaseous emissions by upwards of 30 percent – and, unlike other electric vehicles, they use refueling stations comparable to traditional cars (i.e., gas stations). Hydrogen fuel cells are still largely in the research and development stage, but I’m excited to see if we start to mass-implement them in the automobile sector in the coming decades.
    There are, however, certain concerns with the feasibility of producing hydrogen fuel cell cars on a macro scale. Hydrogen fuel can be more volatile and reactive than gas (since we’ve learned how to combust gas safely) so there is a potential risk for engine explosion on roadways. Also, hydrogen fuel stations are extremely uncommon in the U.S., so before fuel cell cars could be become a new trend, companies would have to improve the accessibility of these stations.
    It’ll be interesting to see how the environmental movement impacts the car industry. With so many urgent environmental issues, I hope that we start to seriously consider the future of electric vehicles.

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