In the early 20th century, investor Henry Ford created the internal combustion engine. This engine used gasoline to power the first Model T more than 100 years ago. The engine has changed little since then according to Market Watch, but many changes have occurred in the world of gasoline. Gasoline use has major implications for the environment, health, dependency on fossil fuels, and the political stage that might be dissipated if the automobile industry could use an alternate fuel source.
Despite recent efforts to improve fuel efficiency and reduce toxic emissions in cars, emissions have continued to increase steadily in the past two decades. When gasoline combusts it releases the end products of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides, which may contribute to climate change. Even the infusion of 10% ethanol into gasoline has not rectified the emission problem, according to Alpha Online, especially since the conversion from ethanol to corn actually requires the use of fossil fuels.
Gasoline exposure can occur from filling your tank, from a gas leak in your engine, or from general spills and accidents. Gasoline can contaminate drinking water or nearby soil if you have a well system or soil near your driveway. High levels of gasoline chemicals taken in from day-to-day exposure like benzene may cause cancer, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. The long-term effects of occasional contact with gasoline are not as widely known, but inhalation of the fumes can lead to dizziness, headaches, confusion and breathing difficulties.
Fossil Fuels Dependency
It is quite widely known that the earth is running low on fossil fuels, which gasoline is a large component of. Even though the estimates of geologists and oil companies predict that there is a limited amount of oil remaining, their estimates may still be large exaggerations according to Common Dreams. Since gasoline may run out in the next century, it is imperative to begin making changes in the world fuel type. Other fuel types like hydrogen or solar power that do not depend on fossil fuels may or may not be the answer, but coming up with a solution prior to running out of gasoline is a must.
It's strange to think that something as simple as what we put in our cars could have political implications. Currently, the Middle East holds an extreme degree of authority in the world due to the world's dependency on the oil deposits found in that region. Other world leaders have an inordinately large amount of control as well because of oil, including Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, according to Market Watch. If a new domestic power source for cars could be created and harvested, these foreign leaders and nations would not have such a stranglehold on the rest of the world due to oil. It is thought that some of the wars of the past few decades have been in part inspired by oil as well. Reduce the need for oil and potentially the perceived need for combat will dissipate as well.
- Photo Credit Refuelling by gasoline of the modern car image by terex from Fotolia.com
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