Inrecent generations, our environment has been severely impacted by climatechange and global warming, which causes danger not only to the health of humansand other living species, but to the health of our planet. Our risingtemperature, rising seas and severe flooding are only mere preliminary impactscaused by climate change, with more severe environmental phenomena sure to come.In addition to the massive amounts of detriment caused by the mass farmingindustry, a major cause of the global warming we see today is our own motorizedvehicles. It is very important to analyze their effects on global warming and howwe can come together as a population to help reduce greenhouse emissions. Understandinghow hybrid cars positively affect the environment is essential in helpingreduce greenhouse gasses, and in the long run improving the health of ourplanet, or at least slow down the effects of emissions. Globalwarming is, in the non-scientific community, a controversial issue in theUnited States, and across the globe we have yet to come to a resolution on howto act.
Although some of the population argues that global warming is a myth,scientists have proved time and time again that unless we manage and decreaseglobal-warming emissions, the average U.S temperatures are expected to rise by up10 degrees over the next century (McMillan 2017). Global warming is a direct resultof pollutants and carbon dioxide that are released from the human populationdown in the ethnosphere, which eventually collect in the atmosphere and effectmany aspects of our environment. These pollutants can and do stay in theatmosphere for years- even centuries.
The radiation caused by these pollutantshave nowhere to go, so it gets trapped, leading to warmer temperatures around theworld, sea level rise and ice mass melting. The second-largest source of carbonpollution in the United States to industrial farming is the transportationsector in the United States (Carbon Pollution 2017). Automobiles generate roughly about1.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year (MacMillan 2017). Thecreation of new energy-efficient technology in cars facilitates in reducing theamount of carbon dioxide emissions released in the United States and around theworld.Thedevelopment of hybrid cars is a concept that has been kicking around for acouple hundred years now.
Hybrid cars were introduced as an attempt to aid inreducing air pollution. Hybrid cars have many environmental impacts that arebeneficial in reducing harmful greenhouse gas production and overall improvehealth. According to the United States department of Energy, hybrid cars useapproximately 1/3 less gasoline than a standard internal combustion enginevehicle (The Benefit, N.D).
The number one cause of global warming are Carbon-basedemissions, some of which coming from passenger cars. Hybrid cars on average emit25 to 90 percent less emissions than a gas engine car (The Benefit, N.D). Hybridcars also produce lower levels of gas fumes, contributing less to the everpresent creating of smog than internal combustion engines used in othervehicles. Hybrid cars also aid in protecting our non-renewable sources ofenergy like gasoline and other types of petroleum. These fossil fuels arelimited, and not recyclable, which means that once they are gone they can neverbe replaced.
The human wars and violent conflicts that have arisen as a meansto seize these natural resources alone should be a good reason to move awayfrom gas-based vehicles.Thefirst hybrid vehicle was built in 1901 by Ferdinand Porsche, and was called ‘thesystem Lohner-Porsche Mixte’ (Murrye 2015). This hybrid car used a gasolineengine to supply power to an electric motor that drove the car’s front wheels.The Mixte was well received, but the demand started to decline when Henry Fordstarted the first automobile assembly line in 1904. Ford producedgasoline-powered cars that were sold at a low price and were, therefore, moreaccessible and enticing to the public. Since hybrid cars were more expensive and had less power than thesegasoline-powered cars, they were quickly forgotten and became a thing of thepast as soon as they had come.
(Murrye 2015). As a byproduct of the capitalistsociety that still exists in this country, consumers were prevented frombecoming aware of the harm they were doing to the environment by buying thesevehicles. Because of their low prices, consumers were pacified and uninterestedin changing their consumption habits.
The reason that these new gasolinevehicles were so cheap is because they were mass produced, and did not cost asmuch to make in both time and labor.Furthermore,the United States Congress introduced a legislation that encouraged users touse electric vehicles to help reduce air pollution. This breaking legislationhelped hybrid vehicles make a bit of a comeback. However, the government’seffort to renew public interest did not gain momentum until the Arab oilembargo in 1973 (Murrye 2015). Arab members of the OPEC, the Organization ofPetroleum Exporting Countries imposed an embargo against the United States inretaliation for the U.S decision to re-supply the Israeli military and to gainleverage in the post-war peace negotiations (Oil Embargo, N.
D). This oil crisiscaused the price of gasoline to skyrocket while supply decreased dramatically.In the late 1990s, a few all-electric vehicles were introduced such as the GMEV1 and Toyota Rav-4 EV (Oil Embargo, N.D). These electric cars did not garner much interest from consumers, andwere dropped from production due to it not low demand. In 1997, the release ofthe Toyota Prius in Japan had gained more demand than other gas poweredvehicles in the past.
In1999, the Honda Insight was the first mass produced hybrid vehicle in the UnitedStates. Although the Honda Insight wasthe first in the U.S, it was the Toyota Prius released in 2000 that gave thehybrid technology a foothold (Berman 2015). Within the past few years, hybrids cars have become more widely available,and not only from Toyota and Honda but from various other automotivemanufacturers as well. These new vehicles are gasoline powered, and still haveno primary source of power other than gasoline.
By using a combination ofbatteries, an electric motor and the gasoline engine, these hybrids cars haveachieved improved fuel economy and helped to reduce emissions (Berman 2015).They have an equal performance as the traditional gasoline-powered cars, butwith a much better fuel economy.Hybridcars are often confused with electric vehicles, and although they are rathersimilar they still have glaring differences. A hybrid vehicle actually employsmore than one form of energy to run. “Hybrid cars have a traditionalinternal-combustion engine and a fuel tank, as well as one or more electricmotors and a battery pack” (Edmunds 2013). They differ from regular cars bycollecting and reusing energy that normally goes to waste. Hybrids are a recentphenomenon, but the technology has been around since the creation of automobilereally. Hybrid cars have, generally, two different modes which include paralleland series.
Parallel hybrid systems work when the internal combustion engineand electric motor work one at a time (Hybrid cars 2014). This allows thevehicle to become more efficient because the engine and electric motor areworking together to save on fuel. The second mode is series hybrid, where thebattery runs on the electric motor to drive the wheels and uses the internalcombustion engine to recharge the electric motor when it uses all its energy(Hybrid cars 2014).
The best one of these options would be the parallel modebecause it is more useful in driving in higher speeds. Series mode is not asefficient when driving in higher speeds. There are three different types of hybrids. Thefirst type of hybrid is full hybrids, which are considered the most fuelefficient. These vehicles are the most expensive hybrids, but they canautomatically operate in parallel mode, all electric mode, or series mode (Cobb2014). The parallel mode refers to the use of both the electric motor and gasengine, the series mode refers to the electric motor operating the wheel andthe gas engine turns the electric motor.
The second type of hybrid includesmild hybrids, where they have battery but also needs to have the gas engine on tooperate. The third type of hybrid vehicle are called plug-in hybrids, whichpurely run on electric power. It seems that the more money that buyers are ableto spend, the smaller their carbon footprint will be. The better option for theenvironment would be full hybrid, because they don’t rely solely on gas tooperate the engine (Cobb 2014). The cons of having a hybrid vehicle are verypresent. It is known that it will slow you down while driving on the highway, thatthey require expensive maintenance, and that they can vary in the pricedepending on the model. Hybrid cars function differently than gas poweredvehicles.
Hybrid cars are not build for speed, but instead for economy. Theyhave a gasoline engine that is not as large as regular vehicles. When acceleratinga hybrid car, the conventional engine works with the electric motor and doesnot accelerate as fast as gas powered vehicles (Pros and Cons 2014). Hybridcars often have a high maintenance cost due to its battery, and many mechanicsare not equipped to repair them. Although many hybrid cars today come withwarranties, their parts are not readily available like other conventionalvehicles.
Most hybrid cars have two driving modes, so when driving on theexpressway it does not have the same accelerating speed as gas powered vehicles(Pros and Cons 2014). Even though these vehicles don’t have the same power asregular vehicles, their impact on the environment are less than other cars,where in lies their appeal.Overall, hybrid cars have pros that seem to outweighsits cons, if you’re of a socioeconomic bracket that can handle financing it. Bybuying hybrid vehicles, consumers are playing a small part in lowering ourimpact on the environment, and it will also help them save money in the longrun, since they will not have to spend as much money on gas. Hybridcars seem to be beneficial financially as well environmentally, besides initialcost and cost of repair. As we become more educated on global warming and theharm that we are causing our planet by using cars that emit so much pollutionin the atmosphere, it’s time for consumers to reckon with their role in themovement and be more conscious when auto shopping, hopefully by switching overto driving hybrids only.
If the companies administering them made an effort tomake them more accessible to all classes of society, we could possibly start toreduce the emissions of the commuters of the USA.