Alternative Fuels Essay

3959 words - 16 pages

Alternative Fuels


Demand for gasoline has been the driving force in utilization and depletion of crude petroleum, which is a non-renewable resource. In recent years, tendencies have just begun to, at times, favor alternative fuels to power autos. Many possible alternative fuels exist, certainly not without their drawbacks. These alternatives include, but are not limited to, alcohols, gasohols, and both liquefied and gaseous natural gas, as well as hydrogen. As mentioned above, drawbacks do exist; the chief drawbacks being cost of adaption implementation, engineering, and cost of the fuels themselves. As stated by many a chairman of petroleum companies, alternative fuels have limited applications and too many economic disadvantages, (Derr, 30).

"Although alternatives to gasoline may have some very limited niche applications in efforts to reduce air pollution, they have too few environmental advantages and too many economic disadvantages to justify the high expectations that some regulators have of them." Quote from a speech given by the chairman and CEO of Chevron in 1994, (Derr, 30)

It seems that some automobile manufacturers may have a similar opinion. "The automobile industry is deliberately trying to sabotage electric and natural gas vehicles," (Savage 7). However, these two industries are not in the majority as low cost alternatives are constantly being developed by engineers in the United States and Europe. These industry giants also may soon have no choice but to explore and diversify into more alternative fuel options as they have done in Brazil, (Grammer, 10). Emissions standards are growing stricter throughout the States, especially in California where a percentage of cars sold must be zero emission vehicles. Concern is also growing across the Atlantic in Europe:

"According to recent findings in the U.K., the pollutions in vehicle emissions cause a range of illnesses and are the main source of atmospheric contamination. The U.K. government has been urged to double the real price of petrol, triple the use of public transport, and halve the size of its current 19 billion roads program by 2005. The findings have raised interest in possible alternative fuels," (Cavenagh, 15).

These alternatives involve modified internal combustion engines, ICE's, modified fuel delivery systems, as well as advancements in the field of electrical storage capacities. This paper will attempt to discuss the many advancements in the field of automobile alternative fuels, reduced and zero emission vehicles, and fuel delivery and ICE modifications producing reduced emissions. Positive and negative aspects to implementation will be discussed as well as an analysis made on whether the alternative approach is feasible on a mass production scale.

There have been many advancements in reducing emissions of gasoline and diesel powered vehicles. Every month we hear of another vehicle running on petroleum fuels, reducing emissions, and increasing...

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