The Importance of Eco Friendly Vehicles

In the past decade and a half, the automobile industry has experienced a revolution. While traditional vehicles are still going strong, the creation of affordable, mass-produced hybrids and electric cars has started a revolution. Many people are choosing electric cars over fossil-fuel vehicles because they are cheaper to drive and help reduce damage to the environment. The cost of charging an electric car is much less than the cost of filling up the tank, and the cost of a new hybrid or electric car has dropped considerably over the past fifteen years. These cars also arenít nearly as loud, which reduces noise pollution and makes communities quieter. While it seems like electric cars are the most logical move, itís only recently that technology has made them both affordable and efficient.

Over the years, a number of different inventors worked on electric car concepts, but all of them faced obstacles like battery size, battery life, and cost. Because of this, there was very little interest in attempting to mass-produce an electric car until the 1970s. The Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 and the growing cost of oil revived interest in clean alternative energy sources.

Electric car research continued during the 70s and 80s with limited success. However, while fully electric cars were not yet commercially viable yet, the research was put to use in creating hybrids. In 1997, the Toyota Prius became the first mass-produced hybrid car, and many others soon followed. What was at first simply a trend has taken off, and hybrids can be found on the streets around the world now.

Since then, a number of different automakers have experimented with electric cars, including the Tesla Motor Company and several large auto companies have decided to go all electric in the next ten years. More and more countries have pledged funds for electric car research and made minimum fuel-efficiency policies a reality.

The Growing Role of the Electric Car

As petroleum and gas prices continue to increase and consumers are awakening to the environmental impact of oil extraction, more and more people are looking for alternatives. In some areas, gas prices are over four dollars a gallon, and those on fixed incomes have been forced to find alternatives to driving. For some, this means using more public transportation or walking and biking. For others, trading in their gas-guzzling vehicle for a hybrid or electric car is the best option. In 2012, sales of electric vehicles tripled, resulting in over 100,000 new electric cars on the road. As more and more electric vehicles become available, more financial incentives for buying electric cars go into effect, and gas prices increase, consumers are more likely to purchase these alternative cars.

While there are certainly some disadvantages to electric cars at the moment, such as a lack of readily available charging stations in many areas, these challenges are expected to be overcome soon. In fact, experts expect to see more than 40 percent of all cars run on electricity by 2035, resulting in a savings of almost 1.5 million barrels of oil every day.

Make your Regular Car more Environmentally Friendly

Even if you canít afford an electric car, there are several things you can do to convert your traditional vehicle to a more eco-friendly one. Some of these are as simple as using synthetic oil, while others involve changes to your driving habits. Here are some of the easiest things to make your vehicle more environmentally friendly:

You can also actually convert your car to something more friendly to the environment although those conversions will cost a bit. Converting a standard engine to one that uses natural gas can be done with a CNG conversion kit. You can also change diesel engines to run on straight vegetable oil or on highly concentrated ethanol. You can even change your hybrid into a pure electric car, although these conversions are more expensive.

Further Resources on the Cost, Viability and Benefits of Electric Vehicles:

Benefits of the Electric Vehicle

The U.S. Department of Energy provides information on the benefits of electric cars.

Fueleconomy.gov lists many of the advantages of electric cars over traditional vehicles.

Auto Trader has compiled a very helpful list of the advantages and disadvantages of the electric car.

AAAís website talks about the environmental benefits of driving an electric car.

The Sierra Club website debunks some popular electric car myths

History of the Electric Car

The About.com Inventors section includes a detailed history of electric vehicles

The Edison Tech Center provides more information on electric vehicles, including photos of some of the earliest electric cars

Time also has a great history of the electric car

The Cost of Electric Cars

The Kelley Blue Book provides up-to-date pricing on electric and hybrid cars.

Green Car Reports delivers up to date consumer information on electric and hybrid cars

The U.S. Department of Energy provides cost and efficiency information, one list for all electric cars and another for plug-in hybrids.

Edmonds discusses the cost of charging an electric car.