DRIVING GREEN: Vehicle & Fuel Types for the Most Efficient Rides

DRIVING GREEN: Vehicle & Fuel Types for the Most Efficient Rides

What does a person mean when they say they’re “going green”? Maybe they’re starting a garden. Maybe they’re going to recycle. Maybe they bought some solar panels to put on their roof. Whatever they’re doing, the main focus of going green is reducing their negative environmental impact. Transportation is a large source of damage to the environment, so people generally go green with their car. Let’s take a look at a few different ways you can go green with yours.

Hybrid

Hybrid vehicles are nothing new. They were available in the early 20th century, but were quickly vanquished as Ford’s inexpensive gasoline cars took America by storm. Since the late 90s, hybrids have seen a resurgence as many major manufacturers have at least one hybrid vehicle in their lineup. Most hybrid vehicles today combine a gasoline engine with an electric motor. In some vehicles, only the engine or only the electric motor drive the wheels. In other vehicles, both are used for power. Hybrids like the Toyota Prius can achieve upwards of 50 MPG and are available for under $25k!

2016 Toyota Prius

Hybrids on Carsforsale.com

Electric

The electric car craze hit again when Tesla motors promised a fully electric vehicle capable of 200 miles on a single charge. That was ten years ago. Today, most auto manufacturers have an electric vehicle option. Electric vehicles use an electric motor to power the wheels with a huge battery (or array of batteries) to supply the needed juice. Most of these vehicles will get around 100 MPGe (gasoline equivalent)! Check out the Ford Focus Electric, which has tax incentives and used prices under $10k.

Tesla Model S Supercharging

Electric Vehicles on Carsforsale.com

Check out our analysis of Hybrid vs. Plug-in Hybrid – Which should you buy?

Diesel

Diesel engines are similar to gasoline engines except there is no ignition system (spark plugs). Diesel sippers have been around for a few decades and use high compression to detonate the fuel. There are quite a few offerings from different manufacturers, but many achieve 40+ MPG. They usually cost significantly more than their gasoline counterparts but almost always offer much more torque. Most notable diesels come from Volkswagen and BMW. Check out the diesel Golf or Jetta.

2015 Jetta TDI

Diesels on Carsforsale.com

Ethanol

Ethanol (E85 Flex Fuel) has gained a lot of popularity in the last few years. Conventional gasoline engines can run on ethanol with a few modifications. Ethanol is the name for alcohol fuel produced from plant-based material such as corn or sugar cane. Many domestic manufacturers now create vehicles that can run on this fuel. It provides significantly less gas mileage compared to regular gasoline, but the tradeoff is that it is a renewable resource, and is more knock resistant. Due to this, many high-performance vehicles now use ethanol.

GMC Sierra

Flex Fuel on Carsforsale.com

Natural Gas

Natural gas is not prevalent in consumer automobiles yet in the United States. However, many buses use it. It is a cleaner burning fuel option than gasoline. Natural gas is a good option for fleet vehicles since these fuel stations are not as readily available as gasoline and diesel stations.

Natural Gas Vehicles on Carsforsale.com

Chevrolet Impala CNG

There are many options to go green with your vehicle. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages such as cost/reliability/driving range. Regardless of which you choose, you can rest easy knowing you’re doing the environment a favor.

Have you ever had a “green” vehicle? What did you like and dislike about your experience?