With so many initiatives currently in place across the world to reduce carbon emissions, it is little wonder that the car industry is taking an active part in producing and promoting low emission vehicles of the future.
Whilst some have made the step to completely remove petroleum fuels – either petrol or diesel – some have made the slightly easier transition to vehicles that combine petroleum fuels with other means of power to cut down on the fuel consumption.
A good example of these are hybrid electric vehicles, which are simply more efficient in the electric battery and motor, allowing a more efficient use of the petrol resulting in lower consumption. Other forms of hybrid electric vehicles are those that employ solar power to offset the use of fuel, resulting in the same outcome.
There are two main reasons for this sudden fervour for alternative fuel cars. The first is the threat of global warming. Whilst the long term effects of global warming are much discussed and widely speculated upon, what is generally agreed is that the Earth’s surface is gradually heating up at a higher rate than it should, altering its climates. This is considered to be due to the overproduction of greenhouse gases, which form a layer in the atmosphere that traps heat and reflects it back at the Earth.
Major contributors towards these greenhouse gases are from energy production, causing many homes to switch over to eco energies such as Solar panels. Another big player in the greenhouse problem are vehicle exhaust fumes and so the move towards alternative fuel cars is partly motivated by a need to preserve the future of the planet.
The second reason is a more practical one. Fossil fuels are a finite resource, rapidly diminishing. Because of the rules of supply and demand, the less there is of it, the higher the price will rise. Therefore the need for alternative fuels for vehicles is an immediate one, provoking the car industry to put a good amount of resources into solving this rapidly approaching issue.
Whilst there are many hybrid vehicles around, there are very few entirely alternative fuel cars. The current issue with owning such a vehicle is the lack of widespread availability of places to refuel, requiring much greater planning in order to get to the few filling stations that cater for them. Until a new industry standard is established, this situation is unlikely to change, meaning that the issues presented by the continued reliance on petroleum fuels for cars will remain for the foreseeable future.