The environmental benefits of hybrid cars are numerous. They can do wonders to cut down on pollution and damage to precious ecosystems. Although the costs are still higher than regular vehicles, the support for new technologies and a green infrastructure for the United States is making many people take a look at these environmental benefits. Many car companies have implemented the technology due to consumer demand and countless organizations find that using a hybrid car is one of the best ways to positively impact the environment.
The most basic environmental benefit of hybrid cars is the lack of pollution caused by carbon dioxide emissions. Based on a report from the U.S. Department of Energy, a traditional car from 2007 uses 344.8 gallons of gasoline to drive 10,000 miles. A hybrid car from the same year uses only 263.2 gallons of gas for the same distance. In addition, the same report showed that a hybrid car produced only 294 grams of carbon dioxide per mile. That's 158 less than a traditional vehicle.
If the consumption of gasoline continues at the rate it has during the first part of the 21st century, oil reserves will not meet demand. According to the International Energy Agency, there will be no spare oil capacity by the end of 2013. They estimate we will need to begin tapping new wells across the world. This will damage fragile ecosystems at all different levels of the food chain. By using hybrid cars, oil consumption is reduced, thereby reducing the need for this level of gasoline.
As more and more hybrids join the automobile fleet on the road, the fact that they use less carbon dioxide will continue to have effects on pollution levels by offsetting what was previously used. As auto companies generate more revenue from selling hybrid cars, they will continue advancing the technology and produce more models, spurring even more people to purchase the vehicles that will offset even more emissions. It creates a simple cause and effect loop.
According the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, smog from traditional vehicles hit an all time high early in the 21st century. A study in 41 states and the District of Columbia showed that air pollution in major cities increased 90 percent over the previous decade. Hybrid cars limit the contribution to the urban smog problem.
One feature of hybrid cars is regenerative braking. Regenerative braking is essential to the function of the hybrid car in that it reduces speed simply by transferring the kinetic energy into electricity for the battery. This means that the normal brake pads should last longer, cutting down on the consumption of another disposable part used in modern vehicles.
- Photo Credit Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PriusTaxi.jpg
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