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WNY GOING GREEN: HYBRID VEHICLES

Friday, 05.20.2011 / 1:45 PM / Blue & Gold Make Green
By Michael Jafari  - Graduate Assistant (2010)
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WNY GOING GREEN: HYBRID VEHICLES
A few of the many ways to help the world “go green” include recycling, conserving energy and using alternative resources.  However, one of the biggest concerns pertaining to our environment is a much bigger challenge to clean up, and that is reducing air pollution.

Air pollution is the most harmful form of toxins that enter our environment.  Besides burning our ozone, air pollution also releases deadly carcinogens into our air supply, and recent studies deem air pollution as the leading cause of global warming.  Air pollution comes from the burning of fossil fuels that occurs in factories, boats and automobiles. 

Automobiles are one of the major sources of air pollution. According to epa.gov, an average running passenger car emits 11,450 pounds of carbon dioxide per year while also producing carbon monoxide, sulfur oxide and oxides of nitrogen. 

Unfortunately for the environment, driving an automobile is the most convenient form of transportation for many people, so the continuation of polluting our air supply seems inevitable.  However, there are alternative ways that we can reduce the amount of air pollution.

Many automobile companies have manufactured vehicles known as “hybrid” vehicles. Unlike regular cars, hybrid vehicles release less harmful gases, which is due to its significantly smaller engine.  The car is able to operate this way because the car has special tires that inflate a little more.  Because of this build up, the car uses much less energy to start, brake and turn, thus using less gas.  In addition to the difference in wheels, hybrid cars also run on an electric battery. 

While it also runs on gas, the hybrid car uses duel energy from both sources to function properly.  Because of this feature, the hybrid car also conserves fuel more efficiently so you can save money on gas. The dual resources make the hybrid great for stop-and-go traffic, as frequent stops and coasting times will shut off the engine for these periods. Hybrid batteries help to reduce fuel emissions because the hybrid engine draws on the battery, not gasoline, when accelerating. Hybrid gasoline motors are able to shut off when the car is stopped and run off its electricity.

Hybrid cars are not only better for the environment, but they are more economical as well. The hybrid car can get up to 55 to 60 miles per gallon in city driving, while an ordinary SUV travels 15 to 20 miles per gallon and could use three times as much gas for going the same distance.  Although hybrid vehicles are typically more expensive than average cars, you could almost say that the gas you save evens out the value in both cars.

Purchasing a hybrid over a regular car is one way you can reduce the amount of air pollution entering our sky, but there are simpler choices we can make that can have a similar effect.  One way we can reduce air pollution is by making better travel choices. You can eliminate short-distance travel by using simpler forms of travel like walking or bike riding.  Although you cannot eliminate traveling by your car permanently, you are still contributing to cleaning the air by replacing your short distance driving with walking or bike riding, or even car-pooling with friends and co-workers.

For more tips on helping blue and gold make green or to become a Green Team member, click here.

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