The automotive industry has emerged as one the most thriving industries of the world. It has experienced a massive boom since its conception, with an astronomical amount of cars sold every year.
However, the dynamic growth in the number of cars on the road has led to an environmental catastrophe, primarily due to the fuel consumption and exhaust emission from the vehicles. Car pollution is also termed as one of the major causes of global warming. In addition, the depletion of ozone layer, acid rain, and fuel seepage from the vehicles into the earth affects the quality of air, water, and soil, respectively.
Consequently, to reduce the environmental footprints of the automobile industry, numerous automotive brands are turning towards alternative methods to run a car. Moreover, the drivers are also becoming increasingly environmentally conscious increasing the demand for eco-friendly automobiles.
So what are the long-term prospects of hybrid and electric cars? Are they as economical and fuel-efficient as the gasoline cars?
Following is a detailed comparison of all three types of cars in terms of convenience, affordability, environmental impact and initial costs:
Gasoline automobiles have dominated the vehicle consumer market for a long time. Subsequently, there are countless gas stations and auto repair shops all across the cities, making it extremely convenient to own, refuel and fix gas cars. Moreover, these vehicles come in a wide economic range, which allows people from diverse earning backgrounds to be able to afford them. The resale of gas-fueled vehicles is also easier as they attract all kinds of buyers from independent customers, to dealerships to car-buying websites with the taglines like we buy cars today Regarding fuel efficiency, gas cars can run for hundreds of miles and only take a few minutes to refuel.
On the other hand, despite continuous efforts to reduce the air pollution from gas-powered cars, the toxic emissions have increased steadily. The combustion of gasoline releases carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides, which may contribute to climatic change and global warming. Exposure to gas can also have adverse effects on your health. Inhalation of the fumes can cause headaches, confusion, dizziness, and difficulty in breathing. It can also contaminate drinking water and soil used for cultivation in case of leakage.
Gasoline is a non-renewable fossil fuel, which means it can run out in the next century. Therefore, it is imperative to adopt alternatives method of powering your cars.
Most hybrid models, also known as internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, have a gas engine combined with an electric motor. The motor has the capability to run the car at low speeds using the energy, which is typically lost when you apply the brakes. Therefore, hybrid vehicles are ideal for drivers who reside in cities and travel at low speed and in low-load conditions. Consequently, these cars also offer excellent efficiency in start-stop traffic. Fuel consumption of hybrid automobiles is also less than gasoline-fueled automobiles, due to lighter weight, smaller gas engine, and hybrid aerodynamics.
In addition, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a hybrid car typically utilizes 30-60% less fuel compared to traditional vehicles.
However, on highways or faster roads, hybrid automobiles usually run on the gas engine, making them no more efficient than conventional cars. The smaller combustion engine also results in reduced acceleration. Furthermore, the initial cost of hybrids is usually higher than traditional vehicles, and they are more expensive to maintain due to the complex dual compulsion systems. It is also not easy to get them repaired on any auto shop, as they may not have the proper equipment. Most probably, you will have to take your car to the manufacturers for maintenance, which is often more expensive. Finally, hybrid batteries are high voltage, increasing the probability of electrocution in case of an accident.
Ideally, you should invest in a hybrid series only if your commute is usually limited to around-town. Longer drives yield almost the same environmental impact as conventional cars, but at a higher initial and maintenance cost.
Electric automobiles are the most recent innovation in the automotive industry. It has absolutely no emissions, causing close to zero impact on the environment. Electric vehicles are also cost-effective. They are approximately one-third cheaper to operate as compared to gasoline cars based on cost-per-mile. Moreover, electric vehicles require far less maintenance than gas-powered cars as they have fewer moving parts, unlike internal combustion engines. They also do not need oil, spark plug, or air filter changes. Therefore, you not only save money otherwise spent on fuel but also avoid recurring costs typical in a traditional or hybrid version.
On the contrary, the initial value of an electric car is still higher than the gas-fueled automobiles, despite a reduction in prices. These eco-friendly models can only travel 50 to 100 miles on average before they require recharging, which also takes several hours. While the battery packs are guaranteed to last for years, if they fail after the warranty expires, a replacement can cost thousands of dollars.
Finally, the charging station infrastructure even in the major cities is not highly adequate. The adoption rate to institute a robust charging network is also very slow. Most people have to resort to investing in a higher unit volt for their homes to be able to recharge the batteries conveniently.
Gasoline cars are still the norm on the roads due to ease of use and low initial costs depending on the make and model. However, there is no denying the sad fact that they have a significant impact on the surroundings. On the other hand, electric cars have high purchasing cost, limited range, and a shortage of recharging stations, but they are incredibly environmentally friendly. At this moment, Hybrid cars offer an ideal middle ground, especially for eco-conscious drivers, with limited resources and inner-city commutes.