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Hybrid Cars and Global Warming (Essay Sample)

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Paper touches on measures used to reduce global warming. Use of hybrid cars is cited as the context of study in this paper.

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Hybrid Cars and Global Warming
Introduction
One of the major concerns about transpiration in the United States is the annex that vehicle transpiration has with global warming. Global warming result from the effect of greenhouse gases which accumulate in the atmosphere changing the gaseous composition of the atmosphere. Accumulation of too much greenhouse gases in the atmosphere cause the depletion of the ozone layer. The ozone layer functions as a shield that prevents the destructive rays of the sun from reaching the earth. When the ozone layer is damaged the shielding capability is reduced and as a result the earth becomes warmer (MacLean and Lave 9). This is the situation that we have found ourselves into. Global warming has come with various devastating impacts ranging from secure droughts to recurrent floods. Transportation has been identified as the major producer of greenhouse gases. Combustion of fossil flues in car engines produces carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas. Given the numbers of cars on American roads, a huge amount of carbon dioxide is produced on daily basis increases the chances of ozone layer depletion and global warming (MacLean and Lave 9).
The invention of Hybrid cars provide the best opportunity of reducing the amount of greenhouse gases produced by cars. A hybrid car is a vehicle which combustion engines that are designed to use gasoline, ethanol (E85) or gasoline blended with gasoline. Hybrid cars, thus, produces less volumes of greenhouse gases and are less harmful to the environment. Further, the use of hybrid cars reduces the overreliance on imported fossil fuels. It is because of these reasons that hybrid car has become popular globally. Since ethanol fuel is renewable and produces less greenhouse gases than petroleum (Farrell et al 507), and the U.S is the top producer of ethanol fuel in the world, the best way to reduce emissions is to increase the use and efficiency of ethanol as a fuel in light-duty vehicle engines in the United States (Farrell et al 507).
Transportation in the United States is heavily dependent on the use of automobiles. There are about 200 million light-duty vehicles in the United States. Of these, there are some 130 million cars and over 100 million light-trucks (MacLean and Lave 13). In the years 2005, for example, automobiles in the United States used a total of 140 billion gallons fuel. Light-duty vehicles accounts for more than 44 per cent of oil consumption in the United States. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, over 60 per cent of all liquid fuels used in the United States are imported from the Middle East and other OPEC member states. Irrespective of where the oil comes from, it is clear that the economy of the United States remains susceptible to the variations of the international oil market (Farrell et al 507).
The dependence and use of gasoline on automobiles is responsible for producing greenhouse gases, which destroy the ozone layers and contribute to global warming. Road transportation is the leading contributor of carbon dioxide among the sectors of the economy that are dependent on oil in the United States. Between the years 1999 and 2005, the production of carbon dioxide is estimated to have grown by more than 25 per cent. In the years 2005, light-duty vehicles a lone were believed to have contributed over 1200 metric tones of CO2, or a bout 22 per cent of the total CO2 emitted from the united states. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated that is nothing id done, the rates of emission will increase at the rate of 1.9 per cent per year. The unrelenting increase in the consumption of petrol and the continued increase in the production of carbon dioxide by light-duty vehicles on the roads of the United States have brought a big environmental challenge. In order to mitigate the impacts of increased production of carbon dioxide on the roads, there is need for the development of measures that will reduce the amount o fuel consumed by cars, reduce the negative impacts on the environment and relieve the economy from the dependence on imported oil (Farrell et al 508).
Hybrid cars offer the best alternative of dealing with the problems of overdependence on imported oil and the negative impacts of greenhouse gases that result from the combustion of fossil fuels in car engines. Hybrid cars are designed with alternative engine that can run on either gasoline or ethanol or both. Currently, there are about 8 million light-duty vehicles that are hybrid cars. These vehicles are operated by ethanol of up to E85 that is 15% gasoline and 85% Ethanol. Hybrid cars are able to operate fully on Ethanol although they might not be able to start in poor weather conditions, such as frost. The 15 % gasoline is used to guarantee ignition in such circumstances (Farrell et al 508).
The idea of using ethanol to run vehicles is not a new one. In 1973, OPEC countries almost cripple the economy of the united sates when they refused to sell oil to the United States. The actions of the OPEC countries brought the attention of the United States to the fact that it was overly depend on imported oil and that the was need for alternative sources of energy other than oil. The new shift in focus led to identification of ethanol as a better alternative to oil. One of the most immediate benefits of ethanol at the time was the fact that, when used together with gasoline, it enabled gasoline to bunt completely (Keefe, Griffin, and Graham 1150). It was also realized that blends of ethanol reduces the emission of carbon monoxide, which is a greenhouse gas. The use of ethanol is, therefore, beneficial in reducing the amount of greenhouse gases produces by automobiles. Some studies have indicated that when ethanol is mixed in the correct proportion with gasoline, automobile emissions that leads to the formation of smog can be greatly reduced (Anderson). In the recent years the focus on the benefits of using ethanol as fuel has changed. It has been identified that ethanol has the ability to replace octane which provides the energy used by gasoline to propel engines. Octane has been identified as being responsible for the production of harmful gases, such as carbon dioxide, that have been associated with the use of gasoline in automobiles (Anderson). Some studies have also indicated that the use of ethanol as fuel in automobiles can slow down the rate of global warming.
In the recent years, the production of ethanol has increased considerable. Various raw materials are used to produce ethanol in various parts of the world. In the United States, ethanol is mainly produced from corn (Blottnitz and Curran 611). Midwest united state leads the pack as the region where more corn is produced and more E85 are consumed. Although the current production of ethanol in the United States might not be sufficient to be used in all light-duty vehicles in the United States, the current developments in United States are a good starting point. In devel...
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