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Alternative Fuel

Essay by   •  February 2, 2011  •  Study Guide  •  1,072 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,490 Views

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Alternative Cars

As gas prices increased past $3 a gallon, hybrids became vehicles Americans were attracted too. These fuel efficient vehicles could go anywhere between 45 to 60 miles per gallon. The top leader in hybrid innovation is Toyota. Toyota has continued to produce top quality hybrids, like the Prius, and has ЎҐpledged to create a hybrid version of all of its available models by 2010ÐŽ¦ (Walker). Federal government has granted tax credits to taxpayer for the purchase of hybrids and other flex fueled vehicles. This has proven to be a nice incentive for consumers.

The high price for hybrid vehicles has caused some consumers to search for gas only vehicles that are less expensive but fuel efficient. Hybrid manufacturers are also searching for ways to create smaller and less expensive batteries for these vehicles (Walker). As car manufacturers continue to introduce a larger number of hybrids and flex fueled vehicles into the market, the prices of these vehicles will be competitive with regular gas powered cars. The success of hybrid vehicles has opened a door for alternative fuel vehicles to be introduced to a growing market.

Alternative Fuel

Searching for alternative fuels has become a large undertaking. With the recent rise of gas prices, Americans are searching for a cheaper way to travel. Within the last few years, the progress of creating alternative fuels has grown substantially. With the declaration, ЎҐAmericans are addicted to oil,ÐŽ¦ advocates of alternative fuel see an opportunity for renewable fuels and hydrogen to be widely sought after (Douglas). The demand for alternative fuel is much higher now due to the rise in gas. As one writer points out, with the future of gas prices rising, people are searching for alternative fuels and vehicles (Leiser). The following are alternative fuels:

Renewable Fuels

Ethanol

One of the promising alternatives is ethanol. Ethanol is made from corn, wood chips or agricultural waste. Varying percentages of ethanol can combine with gasoline; the most widely used is E85, 85% ethanol and 15% gas. More support has been given to ethanol by the government, oil companies and car manufacturers in recent years. The government has budgeted $150 million for biofuels (Douglas). It was reported that oil companies have combined one-third of ethanol into car fuel (Douglas). As for car manufacturerÐŽ¦s, GM is promoting ethanol awareness, while DaimlerChrysler AG has vowed to create more ethanol-fuel vehicles in the future (Tse).

With all this effort, ethanol has some downsides to it. The higher percentage of ethanol in gasoline, the lower the mileage and if gas prices continue to decline, flex-fueled vehicle owners will resort to regular gasoline then ethanol based gas. This would defeat the purpose of producing ethanol. Other concerns are older model cars would not be able to use the ethanol and the amount of energy needed to produce the corn crops would be more then the energy output of ethanol. One person stated it best, ethanol is currently blended with gasoline, and itÐŽ¦s not a complete substitute for oil (Grzedzicki). To completely change Americans dependence on foreign oil over night will not be easy. It will take a slow process to make Americans aware of the alternatives, but ethanol is a current fuel that is readily available to assist Americans from relaying on foreign oil.

Biodiesel

Another renewable fuel gaining some momentum is biodiesel. Biodiesel is commonly produced from natural oils, usually vegetable oil, and is blended with diesel gas. The alternative fuel is available for any diesel engine vehicle and has garnered interest from celebrities like Willie Nelson. Willie has introduced his own brand of biodiesel ÐŽV BioWillie. The benefits of biodiesel are reduction in

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