More than 25% of the carbon dioxide produced by human activity comes from transportation. Americans are the greatest producers, emitting 5,839.3 Million Metric Tons of carbon dioxide in the year 2008. The car market is dominated 99.9% by combustion based fossil fuel drive systems. Obviously we need to encourage alternative drive systems and transportation methods into the mix. However, the first decade of the 21st century is characterized by a vast wealth transference. Basically, the wealth of the majority middle class was transfered to a very few super rich. As such, few of us have the money to trade in our gasoline burning vehicles for new technology that is more evironmentally friendly. However, you can change your habits with your existing car to reduce your carbon footprint.
There are a number of ways you can reduce fuel consumption by changing your driving habits. Below is a list of a few. Can you think of others?
When you are ready to purchase a new vehicle there are many choices and incentives. Basically, you want to get the efficient car that meets you comfort level and budget, considering the tax and rebate incentives that are available.
The following are some of the choices available today and in the near future:
GM's Chevy Volt has an electric only drive chain, but uses a small gasoline motor to charge the battery when electric charge is running low, thus keeping the car moving without doing a plug in charge.
Another solution is to place charging stations in parking lots, street curbs, and other place where people park to allow a battery to be toppped off while parked. General Electric (GE) is deploying these charge stations in various city test sites.
Still another solution is to have a car with a removable battery that can drive into a "switch station" to change to a freshly charged battery within three minutes. It's more convenient than stopping at a gas station. This is being developed by a company called Better Place.
Consider using alternative transportation methods when possible. Urban dwellers have an advantage here. Cities such as San Francisco and New York, where the population density is greater than 40,000 per capita, enjoy economies of scale when it comes to investing in mass transit. There are usually multiple routes of trains, buses, and street cars that can you around the metropolitan area without ever getting into a car. And they are typically cheaper because you don't have pay extravagant prices for parking.
Use Google Maps to find alternate travel routes. Google offers four route types: car, mass, walking, and bicycle. For each of these transportation methods, several alternatives are given. Choose the most convenient. We discovered through Google maps that Los Angeles (LA) has quite an extensive subway system, called the Metro. It has several lines that all meet in downtown LA. Four main routes can take you to either San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Long Beach, or Riverside areas. That's basically the four corners of the massive LA basin.
These are very efficient, light weight alternatives to driving to work everyday. They commonly include a rechargeable battery and electric motor. They give the option of self power, hybrid power, or full electric power. The best applications over a human only powered bikes, is if you have a hill or hills to clime on the way to work, or if your cummutes are longer than feasable with a normal bike.
Here are some examples of what is available today.
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