Alternative Fuel Vehicles Essay

Why Hybrids Vehicles Are Better Than Gas


Hybrid is a term used to describe a combination of two or more distinctive things, aiming to accomplish a common objective. A hybrid vehicle is a fuel efficient vehicle having two motors- one a gasoline powered motor and the other electric motor. The reason for combining two motors is using their strengths and reducing deficiencies. Electric motor is used at low speed wile gas motors perform better at high speed generating extra power for a particular motor weight. During rush hours, when vehicles are continuously stopping and running, performance of electric motor is appreciative. Gas motor supports higher speed supporting driving at the highways. (Anderson 134-45)

Hybrid vehicles are continuously gaining popularity in the general public. With the growing societal concerns about green revolution and also achieving significant reduction in fuel consumption, hybrid vehicles are considered satisfactory in performance. They have become so popular that certain tax incentives have been offered by the government on hybrid vehicles. Due to their better performance compared with gas powered vehicles, we present the thesis of our paper as follows:

Thesis statement: it is hypothesized that compared with the gas powered vehicles, hybrids offer more benefits in maintenance, are cost-effective, and most importantly environmental-friendly.

History of Hybrid Cars

A steam-powered motor carriage was used in France in the eighteenth century. In the next century, a car with electric motor was assembled in England. By the end of nineteenth century, hundreds of electric cars were being used in the United States. A significant development occurred when Porsche- a German- invented a hybrid when he used an internal combustion engine and then combined it with an electric motor. This is recorded as the first hybrid car in the history. Later, in the start of twentieth century, Henry Ford- father of automobile industry- developed the first assembly line manufacturing plant to facilitate the production of gas-powered car. (Anderson 134-45)

Major developments in hybrid cars were recorded when General Motors conducted experiments to produce hybrid cars on commercial basis. They tested by using electricity at 13 mpg and then utilized gas engine reaching up to 40 mpg. The 1973 energy crisis necessitated the introduction of alternative ways relying less on oil and gas. After continuous research and development; GM, Ford, Chrysler, and the Department of Energy entered into a contract to initiate a program to produce 'Hybrid Electric Vehicle' (HEV). Objective of this joint venture was to create efficient as well as cost-effective vehicles that are safe to use and also address environmental concerns. After the failure of electric cars, car-manufacturers concentrated more on using HEV program to produce vehicles. The first hybrid vehicle was marketed in the United States in the year 2000 by Toyota- the Japanese automobile giant- named as 'Pirus'. (Anderson 134-45)

Main Features of a Hybrid Car and Current Market Leaders

One of the major benefits of a hybrid vehicle is the strength of two engines used in it. Gas motor is useful for charging batteries while it is running, however it has to be charged through an outlet. Hybrid, on the other hand, does not need an outlet for charging purpose. It is pertinent to mention that hybrids are the most gasoline-effective of all vehicles with owners saving more costs by using hybrid vehicles compared with vehicles running on gas. (Yost 77-91)

As mentioned above, hybrid vehicles use two or more distinctive technologies, mostly merging electric and gas power. Currently, automobile companies have started using technology of gas powered or commonly known as 'internal combustion'. At slow speed the vehicle utilizes electric power only reducing usage of gas and avoiding toxic emissions from the internal combustion engine. It means that hybrid vehicles offer more benefits just than saving fuels. It is helpful in the cause of 'going green' reducing impact of pollution as a low quantity of gas emissions are produced by the hybrid car specifically driving in the cities in traffic jams, at a low speed. (Leitman, 230-232)

Due to its acceptance by a large segment of American people, government has introduced tax incentives on purchasing hybrid cars. One of the main reasons for these incentives is its low gas emissions, helping in going green. It is pertinent to mention that higher the car is fuel-efficient and the more it is cost-effective in its life time, higher are the tax incentives on hybrid cars. It should, however, be noted that these tax-credits are due to expire after the year 2010. Furthermore, the tax credits are applicable to those HEV vehicles that are equipped with the modern technology burning less gas and also powered by fuel cells. For this purpose certain standards have been set by the government regarding specific emissions, so these standards should be met for enjoying tax credit. (Anderson 134-45)

The regenerative braking in hybrid vehicles support brake pads to survive more compared with other vehicles. Maintenance is also normal as required in other cars and batteries as well as motors also survive for a longer period. Therefore, the main features of hybrid vehicles include tax incentives- although up to 2010- its low gas emissions, and significant reduction in costs, and its regenerative braking system. Honda and Toyota are the market leaders for producing hybrid vehicles. United States have recently started producing hybrid vehicles. The largest selling hybrid vehicles are Japanese- Pirus and Insight. General Motors have introduced hybrid with the brand name as 'Mercury Mariner'. Ford has achieved significant success in its hybrid vehicle: "Escape SUV". The main tactics adopted by the hybrid vehicle marketers- Japanese or Americans- are based on its 'green' image and cost-effectiveness being an innovative technology. (Yost 77-91)

Environmental Benefits of Hybrid Cars Compared with Gas Cars

It is pertinent to highlight that millions of barrels of oil are used by the vehicles in the United States. United States have to import almost half of its oil requirement mainly from Persian-Gulf nations with petroleum products catering most of the transportation needs of the nation. Extraction of oil itself has numerous harmful effects on quality of air and environment. Then there are problems of oil-spills and underground storage of fuel. Since United States is the larges producer of CO2, it is beneficial to rely more on using it. Due to high environmental concerns about gas emissions, technology of HEV is used by the hybrid vehicle manufacturers reducing gas emissions from CO2 by almost half to one-third. (Yost 77-91)

Due to above-mentioned reasons, a hybrid vehicle helps save environment from gas emissions creating pollution and breaking ozone layer. Especially driving in the cities during rush hours and traffic jams, hybrid vehicles with low gas emissions work better and effectively compared with the gas cars, one of the main reasons for the increasing popularity of hybrid vehicles. Expert drivers adapting to the new technology by modifying their driving techniques are in a better position to benefit from this innovative technology-driven vehicles. Japanese made Pirus and Insight are comparatively smaller cars being used mostly in large cities having more traffic rush and traffic jams. The environmental factor alone is the predictor of hybrid vehicles as currently it is being bought by the upper social class with high income, however, with the improvements in technology it is expected that the future of hybrid cars is bright. (Yost 77-91)

It is pertinent to highlight different ways of reducing gas emission and promoting green environment. Hybrid vehicles such as public transport can support in the cause of going green. Small but efficient cars can also prove to be useful particularly in large cities. In other words, hybrid vehicles can be labeled as 'environment-friendly' because of combining electric motor with internal combustion engine which is helpful in reducing dangerous effects of emission noxious gasoline combustion products.

In addition to remitting less gas than gas powered vehicles, hybrids also provide the benefit of effective braking system. Hybrid vehicles run exclusively on electric motor at a low speed. Gas vehicles procures CO2 adding to pollution in the environment. The fact is that no regulation exists in United States restricting emission of carbon dioxide. As such gas powered vehicles contributes to the factor of global warming. Hybrid vehicle is the solution to this grave problem. (Nerad, 201-205)

A General Comparison between Hybrid and Gas Powered Vehicles

In addition to environmental-friendly vehicles, they offer better fuel efficiency. They are just similar to other normal vehicles with enough space for everyone including people and pets. The fuel efficiency in hybrid vehicle compared with the gas powered vehicle is accomplished through technological advancements in the areas of weight reduction and aero dynamics. This will eventually results in reduction of gas engine meaning more mileage. A significant benefit of hybrid is the cost-effectiveness. Although the initial price of vehicle is comparatively high, yet there are specific benefits in the consumption stage that counterbalance its initial high cost, rather proves to be more cost-effective in the long-run. (Nerad, 201-205)

Hybrid vehicles offer benefits of advance fuel cells as well as wind and solar power. Some of the companies have started using lithium technology that support in producing plug-in hybrid vehicles. The conversion of hybrid to pug-in hybrid makes the vehicle run only on electricity at lower speed- up to forty miles per hour- at a full-charged battery. Moreover, plug-in hybrids have also proved to be more fuel-efficient. (Boschert 114-121) Another significant benefit of hybrid vehicles compared with gas powered vehicle is the maintenance cost factor. It is easy to maintain similar to other normal vehicles. Success of any vehicle is mainly dependent on wide availability and easy handling by the mechanics. In other areas like oil changing, hybrid vehicles are also cost effective requiring oil change after a longer period than other vehicles. Batteries and motors are comparatively more efficient in the overall life of the vehicle. As claimed by the automobile companies, hybrid vehicles require less maintenance in the long run compared with other gas powered vehicles. Due to its regenerative braking, the brake pads have relatively long life than gas powered vehicles. (Yost 77-91)

Safety and security is yet another critical issue that is tackled more effectively in hybrid vehicles compared with gas powered vehicles. As already discussed, hybrid vehicles provides a delicate, yet the best combination of normal car with electric cars. Hybrid electric vehicles are as safe as other vehicles, offer more reliability and comfort. Spending just extra money at the time of purchase stage means more cost saving at the post-purchase stage supported with high standards of performance and more importantly safety. (Nerad, 201-205)


Efforts have been made in the paper to make a comparative analysis between benefits provided by hybrid against gas powered vehicles. A hybrid is a fuel efficient vehicle having two motors- one a gasoline powered motor and the other electric motor. It is evident from the analysis made in the paper that hybrid vehicles offer more benefits in maintenance, are cost-effective, and most importantly environmental-friendly.


Anderson, Curtis Electric and Hybrid Cars: A History McFarland & Company, 2004, p. 134-45

Boschert, Sherry Plug-in Hybrids: The Cars that will Recharge America New Society Publishers, 2006, p. 114-121

Leitman, Seth Build Your Own Plug- In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (Tab Green Guru Guides) McGraw-Hill, 2009, p. 230-232

Nerad, Jack The Complete Idiot's Guide to Hybrid and Alternative Fuel Vehicles Alpha, 2007, p. 201-205

Yost, Nick The Essential Hybrid Car Handbook: A Buyer's Guide The Lyons Press, 2006, p. 77-91

Alternative Fuels Essay

Alternative PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT 1

Alternative fuels; The Best Alternative?

Scott J. McBride

Dr. Cipul-Weber

MKT 301

TUI University

October 19, 2009

The electric car has been an elusive dream of environmentalists and automakers for decades, however with growing concerns about global warming; the idea is attracting a new generation of entrepreneurs who are hoping better batteries will make electric cars practical this time around. Electric cars help fight global warming for the reason that they contribute less greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than gasoline-powered cars, even if the electricity is created in a coal-fired power plant. Passion for the environment dates back to the 1970s and more specifically during the oil crisis. For decades, common people of all ages as well as celebrities have longed for the creation, distribution, and market of hybrids.

Legendary actor, the late Paul Newman asked Congress to promote new sources of energy years before "green" was even a household name. When the oil crisis lifted, interest waned. However, this time around, the threat of global warming will keep people focused. With the millennium ten years in, new energy conserving ideas are being brought to the market. Among the most prominent are cars powered by electricity, as opposed to gasoline. Electric vehicles seem practical, and they protect the environment by reducing pollution.

Some contemporary's believe that our economy would suffer colossal changes in order to accommodate these low-emission vehicles. The entire oil industry would bear an enormous loss, car manufacturing would have to change completely, and many people involved in the gasoline industry would become unemployed. While alternative fuels may help protect the environment, they would destroy the economy.

The oil industry depends on the production of gasoline. Transportation accounts for twenty-five percent of U.S. demand, and it depends wholly on oil. If the transportation industry lost its need for gasoline, oil companies, and all of their employees, would suffer major losses. Over two-thirds of our oil supply comes from the Middle East and without this valuable export, these countries, along with our relationship to them, would weaken. Therefore, using electricity instead of gasoline to power cars would not only cause problems in our country, but in other areas of the world as well.

The car industry would be highly affected financially by the conversion from gasoline to alternative fuels. Presently, the U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium is spending over 260 million dollars simply on the development of a new battery. Additionally, it costs between five thousand and ten thousand dollars to convert just one gasoline-powered car to electric. Automobile manufacturing plants would not only have to carry different parts and use...

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