The Many Alternatives to Oil and Gasoline
With gas prices reaching record highs in recent years, a great deal of people have started to migrate away from fuel powered vehicles. With the effects that such substances like gas and oil have on our environment, it is easy to empathize with such claims that vehicles are on the decline. What if, however, there were alternate ways to fuel our cars? If we no longer needed to rely on oil to operate vehicles, surely they would become appealing once more. The following is a list of just some of the ways scientists are hard at work in making this a reality, with a plethora of substitutes to gas and oil.
Arguably the most appealing of all alternative fuel sources is that which unwittingly surrounds us constantly. Yes, it’s as simple as oxygen itself. French engineers have designed a vehicle that can run up to 35 mph on nothing but compressed air. Add just a few drops of oil to the combination and the vehicle can reach speeds of up to 90 mph. What’s most appealing is that cars designed to run on nothing but air will potentially cost no more than $20,000.
Hydrogen Fuel Cells
Hydrogen fuel cells offer a very tantalizing concept to environmentalists in search of alternative fuel sources for automobiles everywhere. Unfortunately, this fuel source has proven to be less cooperative than others as scientists are still searching for a way to properly, and safely, store hydrogen fuel cells within an automobile without it either freezing or catching fire. Mercedes has led the pack though, creating a luxury concept car equipped with hydrogen fuel tanks. Only time will tell if this will become a viable reality for motorists.
Ethanol is perhaps the furthest along in the mission to find an alternative fuel source. Most motorists will already find some percentage of the substance in their gasoline as many countries require under federal law that there be a certain percentage of ethanol mixed in with gasoline sold to the public. As Suzuki commandeered the E25 sedan, first released in Brazil, ethanol powered vehicles are no longer a dream of the future. They are a clear reality, and an easy alternative to gasoline powered cars.
Japan has always been on the cutting edge of technology, and their automobile market is no exception. The "Genepax" is a small vehicle that can run up to 80 mph, for one hour, with just one liter of water in the tank. The car uses hydrogen electrons available from, the water to produce electricity which then powers the electric motor of the vehicle. With a few adjustments, it may only a matter of time before this car takes over the world.
Easily the most "far-out" concept for an alternative fuel source comes in the form of electricity. "French automaker Peugeot boasts 2 huge front wheels that can rotate at different speeds and swivel a full 360 degrees." Aside from its obviously futuristic look, the car runs solely on electric power, opposed to cars currently on the market that run on a combination of electricity and oil. While the Peugeot is, at this point, just a concept vehicle, it appears as though it could be on the market for consumers relatively soon given its wide appeal.
You’ve likely heard of the vegetable oil powered car before. Environmentalists have been pushing the concept for years given it’s earth friendly emissions. These dreams have become a reality in recent years as Volkswagen has produced the first commercially available vehicle to run entirely on vegetable oil. Take the Bio-Beetle for a test drive, and see for yourself.
While our automobiles have advanced beyond belief in recent decades, the ways in which they are powered have not. If society hopes to move into the future, then environmentalists and engineers alike must start looking to alternative fuel sources for our vehicles. Not only will these aforementioned fuel sources allow our vehicles to operate in a smoother manner, and more efficiently, they all present healthier options in regards to our environment. Development of any of these alternative fuel sources would truly be a win-win situation for society.