As people become more aware of the environmental impact of their actions, many are looking for ways to be more sustainable in their everyday lives. One area where they can significantly impact is their mode of transportation.
Transportation is responsible for 27% of greenhouse emissions in the United States. That’s equal to the pollution emissions of the entire transportation sector in 1985. That number is expected to increase as more people use cars and other vehicles for everyday travel. The good news is that several new technologies are helping to make vehicles more sustainable. Here are just a few examples.
Electric Vehicles and Autonomous Vehicles
Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly popular, thanks partly to technological advances that have made them more affordable and practical for a broader range of consumers. EVs have several advantages over traditional gasoline-powered cars, including lower emissions, cheaper operating costs, and fewer maintenance requirements.
One challenge historically held back the widespread adoption of EVs is “range anxiety,” or the fear that the vehicle will run out of power before reaching its destination. However, this is no longer a valid concern for most EV owners, as the average range of today’s electric cars is around 200 miles (320 kilometers) on a single charge. In addition, the national grid in countries like the United Kingdom is also vastly improving. This means that an EV can easily handle the daily commute for most people without needing to be recharged.
Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are another area where technology is helping to make vehicles more sustainable. AVs use sensors, cameras, and other onboard systems to navigate without needing a human driver. This not only has the potential to make driving safer, but it can also help to reduce traffic congestion and improve fuel efficiency.
For example, AVs can communicate with each other to coordinate their movements and avoid braking unnecessarily. This “platooning” technique has been shown to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20% compared to traditional driving methods. AVs can also be programmed to take the most efficient route possible based on real-time traffic conditions, reducing fuel consumption and emissions. It’s an essential addition, and one that further improves the function of these vehicles.
Reducing Wasted Gas
Gas is an essential resource that the world relies on to power vehicles. That’s why the country must control its fuel usage. One way to do this is by transferring fuel from one vehicle to another.
Fuel left idle in various vehicles is wasted, resulting in higher fuel consumption. Robust fuel transfer tanks for gasoline allow drivers to quickly transfer gas from one car to another, letting them get more out of every gallon. This practice is becoming more common thanks to advanced technology that has made it easier and safer. For example, many trucks today are equipped with special fuel transfer valves that allow drivers to transfer gas from one vehicle to another by simply pushing a button.
While some people object to refueling their vehicles, the reality is that it’s an essential step in reducing waste and increasing efficiency. Using fuel transfer technology, drivers can get more out of every gallon they purchase and reduce their environmental impact.
Ethanol Fuel Blends
Ethanol fuel blends have been used in the United States since the 1970s to reduce vehicle emissions. Ethanol is a renewable resource made from plant materials, such as corn, sugar cane, or grasses. It can be blended with gasoline to create a fuel used in most vehicles without modification. Ethanol fuel blends typically contain up to 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline (E10). Higher ethanol blends, such as E85, can be used in flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) designed to run on gasoline, E85, or any combination of the two.
FFVs are equipped with a sensor that tells the engine what fuel is used to adjust the air-to-fuel ratio accordingly. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are about 17 million FFVs on the road today. Regarding environmental benefits, using E10 instead of 100 percent gasoline reduces CO2 emissions by about 3 percent. Higher ethanol blends offer even more significant emission reductions. For example, using E85 instead of 100 percent gasoline can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 30 percent. It’s one of the best ways to reduce fuel waste and make vehicles more environmentally friendly.
These are just a few examples of how technology is helping to make vehicles more sustainable. As the world continues to develop new technologies and find new ways to apply them, humanity will only become more successful in protecting the environment and reducing its impact on the planet.