What makes a car “green”?

green car with leaves and plug icon

In recent years, a number of companies have been releasing cars that are labeled “green”.  We take this to mean Eco-friendly or energy efficient, but what makes a car be labeled as such?  According to Wikipedia, a green vehicle “is a road motor vehicle that produces less harmful impacts to the environment than comparable conventional internal combustion engine vehicles running on gasoline or diesel, or one that uses certain alternative fuels.” There are ways that these are obtained, and this article will explore those ways.

One of the best, and most popular ways to improve a cars efficiency is to change the source of propulsion. This can be done in a number of ways, such as bio fuel. Bio fuel is created primarily through anaerobic digestion, and is used to substitute fossil fuels. Another propulsion that you have probably heard of is an all electric automobile. These work with by charging a battery, but they also have a number of different systems to improve the efficiency, such as regenerative braking.  The entire process is very interesting, and will be explored in a future article.

Hydrogen fuel cells are another green source of energy, found in automobiles. They are powered by a chemical reaction, in which hydrogen becomes stripped of its electrons, and becomes positively charged. This method is highly efficient, as there are virtually no emissions, since there is no combustion process.

Solar cars are also being developed, and have potential to be highly efficient, however, they are not very functional for consumer use.  They can be restricted by clouds or nighttime, and solar panels are fragile. They are quieter, and do not emit fumes, as there are no combustion reactions occurring.

The biggest downside to energy efficient vehicles is the cost.  If you are on a budget, there are a number of things you can do to increase the efficiency of your existing vehicle. First off, maintain a good tire pressure. When your tire pressure is low, there is more friction between the tires and road, making your car expend more propulsion energy. Next, you can switch to a reusable air filter. This will cut costs down in the long run, and will eliminate the waste of replacing a filter. Another thing you can do is change your oil frequently. Routine oil changes keep your engine running smoothly, therefore consuming less fuel.

Personally, I am an advocate for human powered transportation, specifically biking.  When you are on a budget, biking saves you the expense of fuel (other than snacks) and is an excellent workout.  Regardless of what you do with this information, I hope I informed you to the technologies that are available in the green car industry. Whether you have funds to spare, or are on a tight budget, we can all do our part in keeping energy efficient vehicles on the road, and saving the environment, one car at a time.

If you drive a Tesla Car and live in California, don’t forget to check out this breaking news from Tesla Motors.


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