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James R. Cochran

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Thanks to the likes of the pioneering car brand Tesla, electric cars sales continue to grow at an astonishing rate with the trend to continue into the 2020s.

Other major manufacturers are well following up with their own models, and driving down prices.

So before you dive-in into this car trend, it is still important to know how they work.

This will give you a better understanding of the car you are planning to buy. Additionally, you would be better at troubleshooting your vehicle or choosing the right type and model because they all aren’t the same, and that’s a good thing.

Making The Electric Engine Work

The first thing to figure out is how these kinds of cars work. Basically, you have an engine that runs on electricity. Instead of a combustion engine, which is found on traditional cars that run on fuel, it has an electric motor. The electric motor is powered by the rechargeable batteries stored in the vehicles. These batteries are charged at a designated charged point.

The great thing about electric cars is how light it feels to drive. This may be due to the faster rate of acceleration as compared to other vehicles that have fuel engines. Another great thing about electric cars is the lack of exhaust because it runs on electricity and no fuel is burned while it is driven.

Charging The Electric Cars

With traditional fuel-engine vehicles, you need to fill up your tank with fuel so you can run your vehicle. That’s also similar to electric cars. However, you don’t get fuel in your tank but you get electricity and store it in the rechargeable batteries. You can plug-in your vehicle in public charging stations so you don’t have to be afraid of running out of electricity when you’re out. Another great thing about electric cars is that you aren’t limited to charging them in public charging stations. You can also easily charge them at home.

The Electric Vehicle Range

One of the common questions and main concerns of people is how far electric cars can travel before it runs out of electricity. Well, that depends on the model you own. There are different electric car models and they are fitted with different battery sizes and efficiencies.

They are also fitted with different engines. Moreover, the range may also depend on the weight of your vehicle and how much energy the motor needs to use to push the wheels to turn and run.

Types Of Electric Cars

As we’ve mentioned earlier, there are different types of electric cars. Some will only run on electricity while there are also others that can run on both electricity and fossil fuels.

They are classified into three different types.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Hybrid electric vehicles or HEVs are very common and they have been around for decades already but the spotlight on them shone with the Toyota Prius, which was introduced in 1997.

It is one of the most popular hybrid vehicles. Along with Toyota, other car brands like Ford, Kia, and Hyundai also offer hybrid electric cars.

This type of electric vehicle, like the name implies, combines the use of a conventional combustion engine with an electric propulsion system. The main engine that works here is the combustion engine and the electric motor simply provides assistance. The main goal of having an electric motor with this type of electric car is to improve fuel economy.

Hybrid vehicles aren’t recharged, they get recharged through regenerative braking systems, and through the use of the combustion engines. What makes hybrids so attractive is their lower cost of ownership as compared to other traditional cars.

Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles

The second type of electric vehicles is what is called the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles or PHEVs. Compared to hybrid vehicles, the battery of the PHEVs are much larger and they are plugged-in to recharge. Their electric motor also does most of the work that is why they have bigger ones than hybrid electric vehicles.

With larger batteries and engines, these cars are capable of propelling the vehicle without assistance from combustion engines for long periods of time. Some of the known car brands that produce PHEVs are Ford, Honda, and Chrysler.

For those who are looking for a better range than the hybrid electric vehicles, the PHEVs are a great option. They can be used for long-distance drives on electricity but are still versatile enough to run on gasoline when there are no charging stations available. There is also an option to run entirely on electricity as long as the car is driven within its range. The combustion engine just acts as a back-up when it is needed.

While it is best to use the electric engine so charging the car as often as possible is advised, you can still use it as a hybrid electric car. In case you forgot to charge it, it will use the combustion engine and recharge the batteries as a hybrid would.

Battery Electric Vehicles

Lastly, we have the battery electric vehicles or the BEVs. These may also be known as electric vehicles because they are fully powered by the batteries. They have a full-electric drivetrain and are very simple. Due to the fewer number of moving parts, they require much less maintenance as compared to traditional combustion engine vehicles.

This helps owners save on maintenance expenses, which could pile up over time. The only limitation of electric vehicles is that they depend on the battery to run. That’s why they need to be recharged quickly and often to use them efficiently.

Over the years eco-friendly like those of the Hybrid variety have made a consistently good case that they can save owners money in the long-term with reduced costs at the fuel pump.  On top of that they help the environment through lower emissions.

However, their benefits don’t stop there.

They can also offer financial incentives for owners throughout the year. Nowadays, most states have hybrids and electric cars easily accessible and affordable.

Although some people might be surprised at just how much eco-friendly car costs, the long-term financial benefits can outweigh that price. Plus, it also provides long-term environmental incentives, which is why many consider it as an investment.

Tax Incentives

One benefit that people who buy eco-friendly cars have is tax deductions. With it, the government hopes to encourage more people to choose eco-friendly vehicles instead of combustion engine vehicles. Taxpayers in the US can experience tax refunds and lower income taxes due to this incentive.

Energy Laws For Tax Incentives Of Eco-Friendly Car Buyers

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 allows taxpayers who bought new hybrid cars to have an income tax credit for up to $3400. However, this is limited to those who purchased the new vehicles from January 1, 2006, up to December 30, 2010.

The Energy Independence and Security Act is another law that was passed in 2007. This policy includes plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles in the tax-saving incentives. In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was also passed. Rather than affecting personal tax incentives, this act is more focused on the infrastructure affecting eco-friendly vehicles. This act has affected various aspects including alternative fuel, diesel engines, and electric vehicles. Some states even allow hybrid cars to pass through carpool lanes even when there are no passengers as an added incentive.

Incentives For Those In California

California is one of the states that offers great incentives for those who have low or zero-emission vehicles. High occupancy vehicle lanes can be used by those who have a minimum of two people inside the vehicle. In California, the eco-friendly vehicles are exempted from this rule. The drivers must also get a special decal so they can travel high occupancy toll roads for free.

Various cities like Santa Monica, San Jose, and Hermosa beach offer an added incentive such as free parking for eco-friendly vehicles.

Through the Consumer Assistance Program, those who have vehicles that cause much pollution can get an incentive of $1000 to $1500 if they decide to voluntarily retire those cars. Another great incentive for eco-friendly car owners in California is the insurance discount. The insurance discount can range from 10% to 30%.

Incentives For Those In Florida

Just like California, those in Florida can use the high occupancy vehicle lanes even if the only person in the car is the driver, provided that the car is certified by EPA as a low-emission vehicle. Although this doesn’t save money, this does save lots of time for eco-friendly car drivers. Additionally, Florida gives out tax incentives for businesses that own alternative fuel cars. They will receive rebates for owning alternative fuel vehicles.

On top of that, some car insurance companies also provide discounts. However, this would vary from one provider to another. The discount will also range from 10% to 30%.

Many of the large vehicles, like trucks, tractors, and buses run on diesel fuel. However, we all know that diesel isn’t renewable and contributes to the greenhouse effect. Biodiesel, on the other hand, is renewable and is made from fats of animals, grease, or oils from vegetables.

Comparing biodiesel and regular diesel from petroleum, biodiesel produces much less pollution than the other. The good news is that vehicles that run on diesel can also run on biodiesel. This is because the chemical characteristics of biodiesel are very similar to that of the diesel from petroleum.

Biodiesel can be used as a substitute for diesel fuel but or it can also be used to blend with petroleum diesel. This helps make the fuel greener while not affecting the fuel economy of the vehicle.

Biodiesel Blends

Vehicles that have a diesel engine will work well with biodiesel blends that contain 5% of biodiesel (B5). Those that have 20% biodiesel mixed with 80% petroleum diesel are known as B20. These are used by some government and federal fleets. School buses, garbage trucks, military vehicles, snowplows, mail trucks as well as snowplows also used the B20 biodiesel blend or even higher biodiesel blends. Biodiesel blends are available to the public and almost every state has them.

Many of those in the trucking industry prefer to use biodiesels at low-levels, usually the B2 and B5 blends. This is because biodiesel also has lubricating capabilities. This helps improve the engine performance of the trucks.

Pure biodiesel or B100 is also available but biodiesel blends are preferred because pure biodiesel is a solvent. It can potentially harm the rubber components of older vehicle models. Creating biodiesel blends prevents this from happening.

Increasing Use Of Biodiesel

In previous decades, it has been observed that there has been an increase in the use of biodiesel. This may be due to the positive effects of the biodiesel to the environment plus the different incentives offered by the government for consuming biodiesel.

The increase in the consumption of biodiesel is not only observed in the United States. An increase is also evident in the worldwide consumption. Many other countries also have incentives to encourage the use of biodiesel and biodiesel blends.

 

Thanks to the likes of pioneering manufacturers like Tesla, the number of electric vehicles on the road today is exponentially more than that of 5 years ago, in fact, there was an 81% increase in electric car sales year-over-year from 2018  with adoption rates showing little signs of abating.

While the overall number of EV on the road are still dwarfed by traditional gas-guzzlers,. there’s no question:  the appeal of electric cars is increasing because more and more people are concerned about pollution and carbon emission of their cars. Electric cars are better for the environment because they don’t emit as much greenhouse gasses as fossil fuel-powered cars.

With a growing interest in electric cars, there are also many questions in the mind of the public. Some wonder how green they really are. There are some who also want to look further into some manufacturing issues affecting the environment. Also, there are questions on the way electricity is generated and whether hybrid cars are also good for the environment. All that will be answered below.

Are Electic Cars Good For The Environment?

The short answer is yes. Using electric cars instead of diesel or fuel cars will greatly improve air quality in cities or towns. The pure electric cars do not produce any carbon dioxide emissions when they are driven. Simply using them will greatly reduce air pollution. The reduced air pollution makes the area a better place for pedestrians, cyclist and other people in their own vehicles.

Aside from air pollution, electric cars are also great for reducing noise pollution. The cars are quieter than conventional vehicles. This helps create a more peaceful environment not only for us but also for the animals around us. Some animals are greatly alarmed by the sound of cars and it can be stressful for them.

What Is The Effect Of Electric Car Production In The Environment?

Some people argue that greenhouse emissions are also produced in the production of electric vehicles. They say that the emission in the production negates the absence of the emission while the car is driven.

It is true that manufacturing electric cars take a lot of energy. There are also emissions produced while electric cars are manufactured and they can also be higher than when a conventional car is produced. This is because of the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries. That is an essential part of an electric car. The CO2 emission related to the electric car is mostly from the manufacturing process.

However, as technology advances, this scenario also gets better. More efficient manufacturing techniques will soon be used. This will also greatly reduce the number of gas emissions produced.

Additionally, reusing and recycling batteries is also an alternative. The market for this is now growing and there are researches done to look for ways on how to reuse the batteries. When the day comes that the batteries are efficiently reused and recycled, we could greatly reduce the manufacture of them and their environmental impact.

Even if the manufacture of electric vehicles produces greenhouse gasses, it is still a greener option as compared to traditional cars. This is because the emission is greatly reduced over the lifetime of the car.

What Is The Impact Of The Electricity On The Environment?

Another concern is how electric cars get powered. We know that it has to be charged, but how green is the production of the power for the electric car?

In research done by the European Energy Agency, they found that electric cars produced fewer car emissions compared to traditional cars even when the procedure of producing electricity for electric cars was considered. The emissions are further lowered when low carbon electricity is used.

Are Hybrid Cars Good For The Environment?

Hybrid cars are equipped with an electric motor and a traditional fuel engine. That is why they still produce emissions while they are driven.

However, how green they are will depend on several factors. First is on how much of the journey is spent on electric miles vs the use of fuel. Another factor is how the cars are charged or where it gets the electricity to make it run.

A hybrid car will certainly be better for the environment if you do short frequent short trips and charge your car using 100% renewable electricity. However, if you tend to use your hybrid car’s combustion engine, then your car’s emission will be the same as that of a traditional vehicle. It wouldn’t be better than any other fossil-fuel vehicle.

When Is The Electric Motor In A Hybrid Car Used?

To produce lower emissions with your hybrid car, it is important to know when it uses the electric motor. Usually, the electric motor is used at slow speeds, which is observed in urban areas. However, electric motors aren’t only used in that scenario. They also give additional power to cars when going uphill, when accelerating and during traffic.  For more detailed information, you may also read our post on “How Do Hybrid Cars Work?

 

Despite an uptick in the popularity of electric vehicles, and low gas prices,  the number of hybrid car models is increasing.  Even the government is pushing a change from traditional fossil-fuel vehicles to those with that use alternative fuel.

For 2019-2020, one such vehicle is the Toyota C-HR or the Toyota C-HR Koba Hybrid. It is fitted with a hybrid engine and has an average cost of about $37,000. Popular competitors of this vehicle would include the Honda HR-V, Kia Seltos, and Hyundai Kona.

The Appearance

Looking at the C-HR, you will see that it’s just like a classic. Unlike futuristic designs of other cars today, this one exudes somewhat of a traditional yet stylish vehicle. Even if it looks like a classic, there are still some futuristic elements to it that make it look great. It has a two-tone finish that some people love but there are also others who are not a fan of it.

The interior also looks great and there are a few noteworthy accents like the diamond-shaped trim found on the doors. There are also heated seats with leather accents that make it look good and feel comfortable. A well-designed center console plus a steering wheel that’s comfortable to hold adds to the functionality and overall appearance of the vehicle.

The Performance

This vehicle from Toyota is a fuel/electric hybrid combination that feels good to drive. It drives smoothly and handles well. Like other cars with an electric motor, it is silent when you start.

It is fitted with a 1.8-liter engine that has four cylinders. It functions when you reach higher speeds so it can get a bit louder but it isn’t too noisy as well. One common comment about this vehicle is the sluggish acceleration, the four-cylinder engine may not produce enough power for smooth acceleration. However, it does have a nice 4.3L/100km fuel consumption average. This is definitely lower than other vehicles powered by fuel engines only.

Although it is sluggish in acceleration, the car is easy to stop smoothly. The steering wheel is also easy to turn and control. That makes it easy to do a U-turn or control the vehicle to make it easy to successfully use tight parking spots. Fitted at the rear end is a reversing camera that clearly shows a 360-degree view. There is also a forward camera that greatly helps with the parking.

The Interior Space

It’s easy to get in and out of the vehicle because of the elevated seating position. The front area offers a lot of headroom for the passengers but the rear seats do not. Although it can fit regular sized adults comfortably, the roof pillars make it look and feel stuffy and small.

Aside from the rear seats, the storage space is also limited. It only has about 19 cubic feet of rear trunk space, which is the average size for that class of the car. When the rear seats are folded, you get 36.4 cubic feet.

For information and entertainment, an 8-inch touchscreen is used to read and scroll through the menus. It is compatible with both Apple and Android. It is also fitted with a good audio system that provides decent quality of sound for songs but for louder volume levels and those with thumping bass, the sound quality may not be as good.

More greener alternatives to conventional fossil fuel vehicles are gaining popularity nowadays. Even the government takes steps to convince the public to go for more environmentally-friendly vehicles. They’ve also created laws that help decrease environmental and health hazards brought about by vehicle idling.

Nowadays, some states already have idling limits for different kinds of vehicles like school buses and public city vehicles. They anti-idling law is a great way to reduce unnecessary emissions until such time that most cars already run on the greener source of fuel.

The Engine Anti-Idling Law

In a way to reduce emissions, the government now implements the anti-idling law to limit engine idling. This law covers all vehicles with a few exceptions. Vehicles that run on diesel or gasoline are only allowed to be idle for 3 minutes. Anyone who violates this rule will be given a ticket and fined for $500 for first-time violators.

A few exceptions to the rules include the following:

  • Private and non-commercial vehicles
  • In case the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, vehicles are allowed to be idle for only 5 minutes.
  • Vehicles are also allowed to idle when they are used for various operations requiring power. Examples of these vehicles are cement mixers, those with refrigeration systems.

Citizen Enforcement Pilot Program

The anti-idling law isn’t a brand new law but some feel that it is loosely enforced. In New York City, for example, the law was just tightly implemented starting 2009.

Nowadays, the Citizen Enforcement Pilot Program in Washington DC will use district residents to patrol and catch violators of the said law. They are to report using a mobile app and there are also some guidelines that help determine which information is needed for the report.

Other areas like Los Angeles city also introduced the anti-idling law limiting idling to only a minute. Philadelphia is also joining in the move for less emission by allowing its citizens to report violators through their mobile app or through their website.

Conclusion

Not all people can instantly switch to using vehicles with alternative and greener sources of fuel However, they can still help lessen the bad impact of the emissions on the health and environment with the anti-idling law.

There are different areas around the country that have their own versions of the anti-idling law. The fines and allowed idle time minutes also vary.

 

Cars powered by fossil fuel produce pollution that doesn’t only hurt the environment but is also a risk in the health of the people. Many countries and states in the US are trying their best to try and lessen the dreadful effects of such vehicles.

Although there are lots of sources of alternative fuel for cars, there are still lots of problems that come with them. For example, cars with hydrogen fuel cells are challenged because of the rarity of hydrogen stations. Similarly, electric cars also take very long to charge and they don’t cover much distance on a single charge.

Nevertheless, there is still something that the government can do to help the transition from fossil fuel cars to alternative fuel vehicles. Such ways include the following:

Research And Development

Cost and expenses are the most common hurdles new technology faces. At first, the costing will really be high but as it improves and manufacturers find a better and more economic manufacturing process, the price will eventually drop.

Here is where the government can help. They can fund research grants and build partnerships with people or organizations so they can research the new technology. When the researchers successfully do it, it is not only them who benefits but the whole industry.

As an example, due to research, there are now smaller and lighter batteries that still offer the same level of power as the previous models. Many are looking forward to further improving those in the coming years.

Infrastructure Network Construction

Researching better ways to improve the battery of electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cells or other alternatives is just one part of the equation. Another bigger challenge when it comes to transitioning from fossil fuel cars to alternative fuel cars is the construction of an infrastructure network.

Unlike fossil fuel gas stations that you can find just about anywhere, there is still a limit in the alternative fuel infrastructure network. There is now a growing number of recharging stations for electric cars plus owners also have the option to charge at home. On the other hand, hydrogen fuel stations available for public use are only about 14 and they are mostly in California.

Whether it is for fuel cells or for electric charging stations, the network still isn’t comfortable enough for most of the public to change their minds and purchase alternative fuel vehicles. Many are still not confident about relying on electric vehicles to get them where they want or need to go due to the lack of public and accessible charging stations.

Also, the locations of such charging stations or refueling stations should be carefully thought of so that they get efficiently used. Building infrastructures that won’t get used are just a waste of money so they also have to make sure that it’s really going to be used.

Forming Partnerships

In order to determine where hydrogen fuel stations should be put up, the government can create partnerships with organizations of car manufacturers. The manufacturers can share their knowledge about the type of people they think are likely to purchase hydrogen fuel cars or electric cars.

With that identified, they can better determine where to place charging stations or refueling stations. For example, most observe that electric car buyers tend to stay within the city so they can design a network of charging stations that can cover the whole city to prevent limiting where the cars can go.

Offer Incentives

Today, a lot of people are still not convinced of buying alternative fuel vehicles. One way to encourage the public to make that decision is to offer incentives. Usually, these incentives come in the form of tax breaks. In some states, they even offer cash incentives. With such incentives, the price of alternative fuel vehicles cuts down to what more people can afford.

Depending on the state, there are different incentives they have to offer. You can read more about the best incentives by various states in our previous post. The incentives are currently available and they work in increasing the number of electric car sales.

With more electric vehicles, the need for fossil fuel also diminishes and the demand for electricity for charging increases. This helps the locality because instead of buying fuel from other countries, electricity is produced locally.

Many people choose hybrid cars not only because they want to decrease their carbon footprint but also because it can help save on insurance premiums. But have you ever wondered how hybrid cars work? Are they better than cars that run on combustion engines?

What Is A Hybrid Car?

A hybrid car, like the Toyota Prius, is an automobile that is powered by an electric motor plus a combustion engine. These two systems are combined and they work with each other to push the car to move. 

The electric motor is powered by the battery which is also part of the car’s system. It is usually found at the trunk. It is used in different situations such as idling so that the car doesn’t burn gasoline. In case the battery is already low, the combustion engine powered by gasoline starts to assist in controlling the vehicle while also charging the depleted battery. 

How Does It Work?

Essentially, hybrid cars have two engines. One is a motor powered by electricity and the other is powered by gas. They work together to save on the fuel used but not all hybrids are the same. Manufacturers of hybrid cars design them differently and there are variations of hybrids too. 

Three technologies mainly affect hybrid cars and they are:

Regenerative Braking

Whenever you step on the brakes, energy is lost. The kinetic energy that is pushing the car to go forward is redirected as heat energy that simply dissipates when the brakes are used. This energy is just wasted. This is just how combustion engine cars work. 

Instead of wasting all that energy, hybrid engines are equipped with braking systems that turn them into electricity. This electricity is what charges the battery of the electric engine found on hybrid cars. This process is more commonly known as regenerative braking. 

Electric Motor Drive Or Assist

The electric motor fitted in hybrid cars supports the gas engine. In some hybrid cars, the electric motor assists the combustion engine so that the car can be more efficient when using or burning gasoline. 

Some hybrid cars program the electric motor to be solely responsible for moving the car from a standstill point. The combustion engine will assist the electric motor when certain conditions are met. These conditions may include reaching a certain speed or stepping on the gas pedal to a certain degree. 

Automatic Start And Stop

Idling is one of the common reasons why fuel consumption is high. Car owners can significantly reduce their consumption when they turn off their engine when not needed. Hybrid cars do this automatically to save on fuel. 

Should I Want A Hybrid Car?

With all the information we’ve just discussed above, you may be thinking if you want a hybrid car or should you want one. Well, if you want to save money on gasoline, then you will love a hybrid car. 

Before making a purchase, there are still a lot of things to consider like your budget and how you’d want to use the vehicle. Nowadays, there are many hybrid cars and they differ from each other to suit different preferences of drivers and users. 

The most common traditional hybrid vehicle is the Toyota Prius but you may also choose other hybrid versions like hybrid SUVs. Moreover, there are also luxury brands that are manufacturing their version of hybrid vehicles. Such brands include the BMW, Audi, Ford, Chevrolet, and many others. 

Electric cars are available today and they are great for the environment. The only problem is not all people who are willing to buy a car would prefer to buy an electric one. There are many benefits of having and using green cars. There is even a positive effect on auto insurance premiums.

To make electric cars more tempting for buyers, the US government gives incentives to those who own an electric car. A tax credit of $2500 up to $7500 is given to every new purchase of an electric vehicle throughout the United States. The tax credit varies and will depend on various factors like battery capacity and vehicle size. 

Apart from the tax credit, other states offer more incentive for electric car buyers. Here is a list of the states that offer the best incentives whenever you purchase an electric vehicle. 

Colorado

Topping the list is the state of Colorado. Here, you can purchase a Volt for only $22,000 when it is regularly priced at $34,995. Residents can receive a tax credit of $7500 plus additional $6000 credit from the state. 

The $6000 tax credit from Colorado is given to those whose car makes use or is converted to use alternative fuel. Hybrid electric cars fit into this category. 

Additionally, those who buy for their fleet can also take advantage of the Colorado Energy Office plus Regional Air Quality Council’s program

Connecticut

Connecticut shows that even if they are a small state, they still have big ideas with their cash on the hood rebate. With this, they instantly cut the sales price of the car so you don’t need to wait for a check or a tax credit. The price cut will depend on the car that’s purchased. 

Additionally, a reduction of the registration fee is also given. There are even some parts that give free parking for registered vehicles that use alternative fuel. 

Louisiana

Known as the land that’s rich in cultural uniqueness, Louisiana is also taking a step towards helping the environment through their 30% income tax credit for vehicles that use or are converted to use green fuel. Provisions of the said incentive are discussed in detail here

Maryland

Tax credit against imposed excised tax is available for up to $3000 in the state of Maryland. There is a limit to this and is only available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Additionally, a 40% rebate is also given for installing or getting a qualified EVSE or Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment. Before it is given, the applicants should be able to prove compliance with the laws regarding the installation of their qualified EVSE. 

Other States

These 4 are only the top of the list but there are also incentives offered by other states. If you wish to check what incentives are offered by the state you currently reside in, you can find them at the US Department of Energy website

The search for a greener alternative to regular car fuel doesn’t stop. It is a continuous process that aims to provide a product that cars can use without having to worry about their emissions.

Apart from lowering the harmful emissions, business companies who utilize vehicles benefit from green fuel by lowering their taxes. Electricity is a popular greener alternative but apart from this, did you know there’s more?

Here are other greener alternatives to regular car fuel that may or may not be available in the country today:

Electricity

We can see the rise of electric vehicles although there is still a far way for them to go to consider them truly mainstream. You can certainly charge your car at home but that may not last until you reach your destination or for you to go back home.

Typically, a full charge can get you up to a hundred miles. Short trips like commutes to the office and back home is suitable but not for longer trips.

It’s good that the network of charging stations is growing. There are now some service stations and car parks that enable vehicles to charge.

Additionally, there are hybrid cars which can be powered by electricity and conventional fossil fuel.

Hydrogen

Hydrogen, unlike fossil fuel, is abundant on earth and the universe. It’s safe to assume that we wouldn’t run out of it any time soon.

Hydrogen-powered cars like the Hyundai ix35 is equipped with a fuel cell that produces energy when hydrogen passes through it. Toyota is also using this kind of technology with its Mirai.

This is a greener alternative because the bi-product produced is water. Also, the time it takes to refuel a vehicle is similar to the time it takes for you to refuel a conventional car with diesel.

For now, the viable fueling network for hydrogen fuel isn’t established. It’s a promising technology and it could be the next big thing.

Biodiesel

Vegetable oils and fats are converted into renewable biodiesel through a chemical process. The biodiesel can be used as a substitute for regular diesel or it can also be mixed with regular diesel in proportions.

Although there will still be carbon emissions from using this fuel, it’s still a greener alternative because it comes from the plants. The plants needed are grown and while they are growing, they are absorbing carbon emissions too.

Compressed Natural Gas

This greener alternative is a low-carbon fuel. This burns cleaner than the regular car fuel and there is also an abundance of natural gas in the world.

If you want to run on natural gas power, your car needs to have a compressor and pressurized tank for it. It can be costly. Due to the price, not many are excited about it. Without the demand for it, businesses aren’t interested in investing in infrastructure to make compressed natural gas stations.

Ethanol

Cars can run on 100% pure ethanol or it can also be mixed with regular unleaded fuel. Many known fuel providers today mix their regular unleaded fuel with about 5%-10% of ethanol.

The bad news is ethanol can damage older cars because it acts as a solvent. It can also cause blockages but newer cars built in 2002 and beyond are not usually badly affected by it.

Propane

Propane is also known as liquefied petroleum gas or LPG. This is more widely used for cooking and heating but it can also power cars. To utilize LPG for your vehicle, you need to have an LPG tank.

The good news is that there is already a network of LPG filling stations because it’s used in cooking. Running on LPG is also cheaper than running on regular fuel. Plus, most vehicles that are converted to run on LPG can still run with regular fuel. This gives the owners more options.

Solar

Solar energy looks promising because it’s free but there are limitations. Solar panels that convert solar energy to electricity are very expensive. You would also need a battery to store the produced electricity.

Its use would also be limited to daytime use. Although it’s not the best for cars, many use this kind of energy today to power golf carts.

Steam

Let’s take a step back in time into the early 1900s where steam engines reigned. The problem with this is the sheer weight of the broiler. Although we’re at a technological age, modern steam-powered vehicles still faced the same problem, which is the very excessive weight of the vehicle.