Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The Facts About Hybrid Car Emissions and Global Warming

In recent years, hybrid cars have become increasingly popular. With rising gas prices and greater environmental awareness, consumers are turning to alternative technology. Manufacturers are making significant efforts to design cars that will satisfy all of their customers' demands: low fuel consumption, low cost, low noise pollution, state-of-the-art technology, and environmentally friendly. Enter the hybrid car - not only is it fuel efficient, but its emissions are much lower than conventional cars.

Hybrid Technology

Far from being a new technology, hybrid technology has been in use for years in the making of locomotives, submarines, and buses. In a similar way, hybrid cars rely on a combination of two powers - electricity and fuel injection.

An idling or stopped hybrid car automatically uses electrical power. Once the car begins to accelerate, it reverts to using the fuel engine. Also most hybrids recharge the batteries automatically by converting the energy during braking. Different models of cars vary in terms of when the electric power is used. For example, the Honda Civic Hybrid uses electric power to assist the gas engine during acceleration or going up hills. Other models run on rechargeable electricity during city driving at low speed but run on gasoline when the car's speed increases such as during highway driving.

Low Emission

Hybrid cars emit far lower levels of pollutants in the air than conventional cars, resulting decreased pollution and reduced effects of global warming. Because no two people drive the same way, it is therefore difficult to estimate, but emissions can be reduced from 25% to 90%, when comparing hybrid cars to conventional gas-powered vehicles. Hybrid car emissions also vary depending on the type of car. Some manufacturers add hybrid technology to existing car models while other manufacturers completely redesign cars with low emission and efficiency at the core. In any case, lower toxic fumes are appreciated in our oil-based economies.

Hybrid vs. Electric

Many people associate hybrid cars with electric cars. However, the two are quite different. The hybrid does not need to be plugged into an electrical outlet to recharge. Gas motors switch on automatically when the battery gets low, and proceeds to charge the battery. Therefore, hybrid cars still use gas while electric cars do not.

A Green Design

Fuel efficiency in hybrid cars stems from numerous improvements.
  • Improved aero dynamics
  • Lower body weight
  • Smaller, lighter, and less powerful gas engines
Reducing weight, especially engine weight, will substantially improve a car's mileage. Hybrid cars were essentially designed for use in the cities, where traffic is a daily occurrence, in order to reduce gas emissions and slow down global warming. What a great way to help save the environment and improve our overall quality of life.

Alexandria Haber is a freelance writer and is the head researcher and content manager for A Guide to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.