Green cars

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Blade Getz electric car fill up
Blade Getz electric car fill up
Alé three wheeled green car
Alé three wheeled green car

The pseudo-freedom and autonomy offered by cars has largely become an accepted part of life for many in developed countries but is becoming less popular due to increased congestions.However, cars with internal combustion engines consume a lot of fuel and emit greenhouse gases. Some people are unhappy about promoting the use of cars, and prefer bikes and the promotion of public transport. However, a large number of people now regard the convenience and freedom of car use as an essential part of their life. If you are going to drive a car, choose the "greenest" one you can.


Tips for green motoring

  • Accelerate gently - rapid acceleration uses more fuel
  • Don't carry too much spare equipment in your car - extra weight burns more fuel
  • Keep your car motor tuned - a poorly tuned car can use a lot more fuel
  • Inflate your tyres a bit higher than the manufacturer's rating and keep them inflated. Under inflated tyres can increase your fuel consumption by 5% or more, and manufacturers understate tyre pressures in favour of ride comfort.
  • Keep your car for five years or more. Buying a new car frequently requires more cars to be made, and every car represents a lot of "embodied energy" used to make it.
  • Don't use your car unless you have to - take public transport or ride a bike instead.
  • Don't buy it if you don't really need it!
  • Consider whether an electric motorcycle or scooter would do instead.
  • Consider whether a fuel efficient scooter would do instead.
  • Buy the most fuel efficient car you can afford that suits your purpose. Lighter weight vehicles are typically more efficient.

If you are buying a new car (listed generally in order of overall green-ness):

Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs)

Note Recent Battery Innovations are likely to make buying new Electric Vehicles commonplace:

The benefits of electric cars and how many are in use

Electric cars are 30% more efficient (in terms of greenhouse gas emissions) than cars powered by internal combustion engines (that use petrol, diesel or gas), even taking into consideration coal-fired power generation.

Transitioning to electric drive trains for cars would reduce global carbon emissions. For those that need more range, a plug in hybrid would suffice - fuel can be used to generate electricity when needed for longer trips.

In November 2008, the numbers of electric vehicles of car size (excluding bicycles) in use are estimated at:

  • less than 300 on Australian roads
  • about 500,000 world wide

Alternatives to normal petrol cars

All of the below vehicles produce some emissions. For more information see Comparison of Transport Fuels Report.

  • Buy an Air Car when/if they become available
  • Buy a Hybrid Petrol/electric vehicle - Mazda 5 Hydrogen Hybrid
  • Buy a Hybrid LPG/electric vehicle - Hyundai Elantra is anticipated to be available in Australia in the later part of 2008. Hyundai Elantra
  • Buy a Hybrid diesel/electric car.
  • Buy a Hybrid petrol/electic car. Hybrids generally use less fuel and produce fewer emissions than normal petrol cars. However, the greeness of pre-2003 Toyota Prius's is frequently disputed. Most all large manufacturers will be releasing Hybrids over the next few years. A Plug-in Hybrid is better because you can charge up your car without using the onboard combustion engine, perhaps even use renewable energy to put some green energy in the battery. Even plugging your car into your house is much better for the environment then using the onboard engine to charge the battery.
  • Buy a Compressed Natural Gas(CNG) car or convert your car to CNG and refuel at home. (Note that the Honda Civic GX has been named the world's greenest vehicle 5 years running). Advanced Fuels Technologies expects to have 10 passenger cars approved for CNG conversion in Australia by June 2009. Hilux 2.6 and Hilux V6 by July 2008. Late model Toyota Camary's (2004 or later) are anticipated to be the first passenger cars to be approved for CNG Conversion in Australia. (sept 2008?). See Rosetta Moon Article CNG Refueling - What about the cars?
  • Buy a Diesel car. Diesel engines are more efficient than petrol ones - some have fuel consumption figures as good as hybrids. Some diesels can also use diesel biofuel made from plant oils.

Gas conversions

If you already own a petrol car:

  • an LPG conversion enables you to use cheaper LPG (liquid petroleum gas), but note that most LPG is a byproduct of oil refining, so when oil supplies dwindles the price of LGP will rise along with petrol and diesel.
  • an CNG conversion enables you to use CNG (compressed natural gas), which is more abundant than crude oil reserves, but there are currently very few refuelling locations available in Australia, largely due to inadequate government policies to establish them. There are several active lobbyists attempting to change this. See Rosetta Moon for more information. There is currently only a single semi public CNG refueling station located in North Melbourne. However, 5 CNG refueling stations are expected in Victoria before end of 2009. Currently there are no pre-converted CNG passengers vehicles being offered in Australia. However, just about all of the large auto manufacturers are now producing CNG Vehicles. Of particular interest is Honda, who has teamed up with Fuel Maker and now offers their Civic GX with a home based CNG refueling device. News Flash: Advanced Fuels Technologies has announced availability of Home Refueling in Australia.


See also

External links

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