The number of private vehicles are now increasing. It is an alarming issue since more cars mean more sources of greenhouse gas emissions. These vehicles used traditional diesel and gasoline engines which emits large amounts of greenhouse gases (Barmore, 2013). The current number of cars reached about 1 billion. The largest quantity of cars is from the United States which is the birthplace of the land vehicles. The latest trend about the quantity of private vehicles is that it will be doubled in 2030. That is about 2 billion cars that are contributing to the air pollution in the future. The large quantity of cars cannot be sustained by the fuel reserves of the world as well as the air pollution in which they are associated (Cerovsky & Mindl, 2011).
One of the major methods of reducing air pollution is the use of zero-emission cars or electric vehicles. It has many advantages such as reduction of air pollution emission and advantages in economic setting (Barmore, 2013). The major influence of the electric cars in reducing the air pollution emission is the decrease of the use of vehicle which has traditional gasoline and diesel fuel engines. The objective of this essay is to analyze the effects of electric cars and zero-emission cars in the carbon footprint of the global transportation system. It also ops to discuss the future trend in the carbon footprint from the development of the electric and zero-emission cars (Socolow & Thomas, 2010).
The Carbon Footprint of Transportation
Transportation is known to one of the greenhouse gas emitters. The most common source of air pollution from urban areas comes from transportation (Federal Transit Agency, 2010). According to the Federal Transit Agency (FTA) of the United States Department of Transportation (2010), most of the private vehicles operate using gasoline and diesel which emits carbon dioxide. Their research shows that 95 percent of the greenhouse gas emitted by the public and private vehicles comprises of carbon dioxide. In most of the developed countries, transportation is one of the major sources of carbon dioxide. The emission is also increasing due to the increasing quantity of private vehicles (Barmore, 2013).
In the United States, transportation is the second largest source of greenhouse gases which is next to the electric power industry. In most of the countries, transportation has been the main source of air pollution due to the large gas emission from the conventional engine vehicles. The development of the technology of the fuel engine vehicles is one of the major factors for the large gas emission from transportation (Federal Transit Administration, 2010). Most of the countries are now developing a system to reduce the carbon footprint from the transportation system. Their major solutions include mass public transportation and the promotion and development of zero-emission electric cars (Socolow & Thomas, 2010).
Zero-Emission Electric Cars
There are three major types of electric cars that have lesser carbon dioxide emission than the conventional gasoline and diesel engine vehicles. The Gasoline/Diesel Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) has the same engine with the conventional car. However, it has the electric motor that stores the energy and reduces the loss of energy from braking and coasting. It will use the energy and fuel efficiently and reduces the carbon dioxide emission for every distance travelled (Pappas, 2014).
The second type of the electric car is the Battery Electric vehicle (BEV) or commonly known as zero-emission vehicle. It emits no carbon dioxide because it runs directly from a battery engine. Tesla Motors electric car models are BEVs which are the most successful electric vehicles in the market. The BEVs are the future solution to reduce the carbon footprint from the global transportation system (Pappas, 2014).
The third type of electric car is the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) which has duel engine system. It has a battery engine system and the HEV engine system. The battery engine system is used first when travelling then when the battery lost all its power, then the HEV engine operates. It helps in reducing the carbon dioxide emission of the vehicle as well as let the driver travel for longer distances (Pappas, 2014).
The Effects of Zero-Emission Electric Cars
In general, the electric cars are created and developed in order to reduce the carbon dioxide footprint of the global transportation system. Transportation system has been the major source of carbon dioxide which is next to industrial plants (Barmore, 2013). May international organizations and government are now participating in the development and production of electric cars since it is a promising technology that could decrease the carbon dioxide footprint of the transportation system. Decreasing the emission from the transportation system could greatly reduce the problem of air pollution and global warming. The environmental benefits of the electric vehicles especially the zero-emission car could be summarized into one major point (Pappas, 2014).
Obviously, the one and most important benefits of the electric vehicles is the reduction of the gas emission from the transportation system. The different types of electric vehicles have lower carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emission than the traditional vehicle which operates at diesel and gasoline engine (Cerovsky & Mindl, 2011). There are some critics who argue that the energy needed to operate the electric cars also have high carbon footprint since it also used fuels such as coal and natural gas. However, the companies are now developing a system in which renewable sources are introduced to operate the electric cars such as solar power. The technology would result to absolute zero-emission of carbon dioxide from the operation of the electric vehicle (Socolow & Thomas, 2010).
The electric cars are more efficient in reducing the carbon footprint of the transportation if the energy that used to operate it is produced from the renewable sources of energy (Cerovsky & Mindl, 2011). Zero-emission electric cars are basically vehicles that is operated using sustainable energy sources such as solar power and wind power. However, there should be enough electric cars that would serve as an alternative to the conventional engine vehicles in order to feel its effect. The manufacture and sales of electric cars is far more less than the traditional gasoline and diesel engine vehicles. The provisions and the regulations are also helping in maintaining the electric cars as the suitable alternative for the conventional fuel engine vehicles (Pappas, 2014).
Zero-Emission and Electric Cars as a Solution to Air Pollution and its Future Trend
A study in 2007 by the Federal Transit Administration (2010), shows that even if the energy used in the operation of millions of zero-emission electric cars, there would still be reduction in the carbon dioxide footprint from the transportation system. The main reason is because electric cars have more efficient use of energy than the conventional gasoline and diesel engine cars. The reduction would be greater if the zero-emission electric cars would operate using the sustainable and renewable energy sources (Cerovsky & Mindl, 2011). According to the study, if a million vehicles were replaced as electric vehicles operating coal-fired energy, it would reduce the carbon footprint of the global transportation system up to 40 percent (Pappas, 2014).
Currently, there are low quantities of electric vehicles that are used by ordinary people around the world. It is because the electric vehicles are more expensive than the conventional gasoline and diesel engine vehicles (Cerovsky & Mindl, 2011). However, government agencies are promoting the use of electric vehicles as an alternative to traditional vehicle in order to reduce the carbon footprint of the transportation system. In Europe, they are planning to produce 100,000 electric vehicles and 25,000 charging stations by 2015. This is to promote the electric vehicles and to reduce the gas emission in the major urban areas. The project could reduce their carbon dioxide emission up to 50 percent by 2030. In the United States, charging stations are created in major urban areas. They also planned to implement electric vehicles to be the public transportation system (Barmore, 2013).
Transportation system has been the major source of carbon dioxide emission. In order to reduce the carbon footprint of the global transportation system, electric cars have been developed. The electric cars are more efficient in reducing the carbon footprint of the transportation if the energy that used to operate it is produced from the renewable sources of energy. The electric cars are a promising alternative to the conventional fuel engine vehicles since it could reduce the consumption of the non-renewable fuels and reduce the hazardous gas emissions. In the future, there would come a time that many people could avail the benefits and potential advantages of the electric vehicle technology.
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Pappas, J. (2014). A New Prescription for Electric Cars. Energy Law Journal, 35, 151-198
Socolow, R. & Thomas, V. (2010). The Industrial Ecology of Lead and Electric Vehicles. Journal of Industrial Ecology. 8(1), pages 13-36