We’ve all heard that cars are bad for the environment - but why? Cars and trucks release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. These greenhouse gases trap heat within our atmosphere, causing temperatures to rise. Due to this, car pollution is a leading cause of global warming. Not only does car pollution contribute to global warming, but it effects the quality of our air, soil and water. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, “cars and trucks account for nearly one-fifth of all US emissions, emitting around 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other global-warming gases for every gallon of gas.” These gases are being emitted via the fuel in our cars - that’s why hybrid and electric cars are said to be better for the environment.
What is a hybrid car?
Hybrids are a combination of a regular car and an electric car. They have a combustion engine that runs on gasoline and an electric motor which gets recharged. These cars can use both engines at the same time to increase power - OR only use one at a time.
What is an electric car?
Fully electric cars are powered entirely by their electric motor, which gets its energy from rechargeable batteries. They will need to plugged into a source of electricity to recharge their batteries. These cars reduce tailpipe emissions, our need for oil, and are cheaper to operate in general.
Pros and cons of hybrid cars:
- Create less pollution
- More cost effective
- They charge their own batteries just by being driven
- The engines are smaller and more efficient
- They are still somewhat harmful to the environment
- They usually cost more than regular cars at the time of purchase
- If you travel a lot, you might use more fuel than expected
- They don’t offer the same performance as regular cars, as they are designed more economically
Pros and cons of electric cars:
- They release no emissions
- There is no cost of gas because you aren’t using any
- They don’t need as much routine maintenance (such as oil changes)
- Cost more than traditional cars at the time of purchase
- Don’t usually travel as car as hybrid or regular cars because they need to be recharged
- They might need to be plugged in for 12 hours or longer
- On a road trip, it is sometimes hard to find a charging station
When it comes down to it, electric cars are definitely the most environmentally friendly. However, they have their cons as well. Hybrids are a good choice because they are more environmentally friendly than traditional cars, but still don’t inconvenience you with needing to be charged. If you’re thinking about getting a new car and want to be environmentally friendly, consider looking into a hybrid or electric vehicle!
Georgia Gintowt, Author