Add to My MSN

Comparing Green Car Technology Options

These days, there are several energy-efficient powertrains, but which automotive technology is most likely to replace the gas engine? Which will become your new ride? 

GUIDE TO GREEN CARS, Summer 2012

By Todd Kaho 

Gasoline Engines 

Efficient Gasoline Engines

Pros: Newer automotive technologies such as direct fuel injection and turbocharging increase power and gas mileage

Cons: Some of these advanced features can add cost and complexity; still dependent on foreign oil

Infrastructure: Gasoline easiest to find of any motor fuel

 
 

Electric Vehicles

 
 

Electric Vehicles

Pros: Cheaper to operate than most other fuels; zero tailpipe emissions; convenient home charging; potential to get cleaner over time as more renewable energy (such as wind, solar) is added to our energy mix

Cons: Range anxiety, can’t realistically go cross-country; batteries are expensive

Infrastructure: About 6,000 public charging stations nationwide; growing steadily

 

Compressed Natural Gas

 
 

Compressed Natural Gas

Pros: Domestically sourced fuel in abundant supply; cleanest emissions for an internal combustion engine; potential for home fueling and dual-fuel flexibility

Cons: High-pressure fuel tanks; dual-fuel vehicles require two separate fueling systems and limits passenger/cargo space

Infrastructure: About 1,000 fueling stations in the United States

 

Gasoline Electric Hybrid

 
 

Gasoline-Electric Hybrid

Pros: Now a well-refined green car technology; adaptable to many types of vehicles; great drivability and gas mileage; no need to plug in

Cons: Advanced batteries are still expensive and heavy; battery materials come from foreign countries; can’t plug in

Infrastructure: Gasoline available everywhere

 

Clean Diesel

 
 

Clean Diesel

Pros: 30 to 35 percent better fuel economy than gas; great performance thanks to generous torque; renewable biofuel potential; superb engine longevity

Cons: Petrodiesel dependent on foreign oil; more expensive to produce than gasoline engines; more complex emissions controls; debatable energy return on biofuels options

Infrastructure: Diesel fuel readily available

 

Propane

 
 

Propane

Pros: Good choice for fleet use; less expensive than gasoline; clean-burning; possible to convert gas vehicles to propane; domestically produced fuel

Cons: Misunderstood fuel; lower energy content than gasoline and lower mpg equivalency rating

Infrastructure: 2,500 fueling stations in the United States

 

Plug-In Hybrid Electric

 
 

Plug-In Hybrid Electric

Pros: Impressive fuel economy; ability to operate greater distances with zero tailpipe emissions; home charging adds convenience, greater all-electric range

Cons: Requires even larger and more expensive batteries; added weight

Infrastructure: About 6,000 public charging stations nationwide; growing steadily

 

Flex Fuel

 
 

Flex Fuel E85 Ethanol

Pros: Partially a domestically sourced fuel; low-cost upgrade on most vehicles

Cons: Up to 30 percent lower fuel economy than gasoline; misunderstood fuel that can damage vehicles not designed for its use

Infrastructure: 2,500 stations nationwide; best coverage in the Midwest

 

Hydrogen Fuel Cell

 
 

Hydrogen Fuel Cell

Pros: Electric drive provides good power; tailpipe emissions are water vapor and heat; hydrogen is the most abundant element on Earth

Cons: Hydrogen is currently expensive and power-intensive to produce; fueling stations concentrated in the Southwest

Infrastructure: Fewer than 100 public fueling stations in the United States

 





Post a comment below.

 

ecotwin1
8/20/2012 8:01:06 PM
Proud new owner of a 2012 Chevy Volt as of today! My ideal car would be like the Chevy Volt but with a higher all-electric range. Charged battery today with my solar pv!! :)





Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.