Smarter Engines, Cleaner Air!

Ian Somerhalder Foundation

There are more than one billion cars on the road, worldwide, and at the moment, this number is on a path, which is increasing up to 2.5 billion by 2050 (OECD International Transport Forum).  With this forecasted rise in car numbers, can you imagine the demand to come for oil? But what if we didn’t need as much or any at all, could you picture living in a world without car exhaust? We can and, with a little cooperation and coordination, we will live in this kind of world!

Transportation currently accounts for approximately 23% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to Brad Plumer of the Washington Post. What if we could significantly reduce that percentage by making certain vehicle features more widespread?

Electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles and eco functions in others are three very viable options for reducing the air pollution from cars as well as our dependency on oil. With just these three vehicle options, your transportation needs can be driven (no pun intended) by cleaner, renewable energy sources, thereby fuelling (again, no pun intended) those growing industries.

Electric vehicles, although still containing a small gas tank, are designed to drive gas-free and tailpipe-emission free for extended periods of time. Gasoline is only used when your electric range is used up, enabling drivers to save plenty of money at the gas pump while keeping the air cleaner! Hybrid vehicles are often confused with electric vehicles, but one main difference is that hybrid vehicles do not need to be plugged in. Hybrids can generally function in three distinct modes: gas only, electric only, or a combination of both. Curious about how a hybrid works? (Learn more about electric vehicles by exploring the FAQ section of the Chevy Volt and Toyota shares a straightforward breakdown of hybrid technology.)

Last, but not least, the eco function. The eco function, like that seen in newer Mercedes Benz models, is a vehicle’s ability to stop the car engine at a stoplight and automatically start once your foot comes off the brake pedal! It’s smart technology that eliminates idling engine exhaust. If every vehicle on the road incorporated this feature, the air pollution from vehicles would most certainly decrease!

Why is cleaner air something to strive for? Cleaner air means a cleaner environment and more successful plant and animal ecosystems, of course. But what may be less obvious to some people is that reduced air pollution can increase the length of our lives. A recent study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health has looked at the effects of the declining air pollution in the United States (a promising and hopeful fact) and noted a stronger association between the declining pollution in urban areas with increased life expectancy.

If saving money isn’t enough motivation to decrease our dependency on oil and gas, then maybe increasing our life expectancy and our environment will be! It's obvious that these technologies are available and working towards an unpolluted world. Here’s to hoping for a future filled with smart eco functioning, hybrid and electric vehicle engines to help us reduce air pollution during our daily travels!

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-Written by Ines de S.