A guest blog entry by Mike Radeke (teacher, student, world citizen)
Now-a-days no one can say they are not affected by the cost of fuel. This has been a rising problem for the last five years. Only in the last year has it become a major concern.
Fuel prices have more than doubled.
In order to combat this we have started to look at alternative fuel sources. There have been many debates of what the best alternative fuel is. You think in this age of technology that we would not a have a problem trying to come up with a better idea on how to run a vehicle. Some of the ideas that have been tested are: Bio diesel, Ethanol, Battery power, and Fuel cell cars. There are many pro and cons to each.
Bio diesel is a good source of energy but if we switched our vehicles to run on bio diesel it would only be a patch to the problem sooner or later we would be having the same discussion about bio diesel as we now are about gasoline.
Ethanol to me has been GM’s way to throw something out there just to get the government off their backs. Yes, we can produce it in the states and would make us less dependent on the Middle East, but ethanol cars still use oil and still have emission problems, not to mention ethanol does not get as good mileage as standard octane fuel.
Battery powered cars have come a long way since they were introduced. Battery powered cars are not just electrical powered. They are hybrids which mean they still run on gasoline. These cars do get great gas mileage and help with the problem but once again to me they are just a solution for the time being. Repairs for these cars are huge as well as the cost to buy one. Battery powered cars also have another big flaw that when the batteries go out it can cost $3,000 to $4,000 to repair. Now, I know that industry gives you a time frame on how long these batteries last. I don’t know about you, but most of the items that I have that are run on batteries, well generally the time frame is greatly inaccurate.
Fuel cell vehicles run on hydrogen. These cars essentially run on water. They have shown some great strides in this technology and these cars generally have run great with good fuel economy. The drawback is that you have to have a cylinder in the car that stores hydrogen (Highly flammable), you also have to drive the car where there is somewhere to fuel up. It is not too common to find a place to fill up your hydrogen car. This would take much time and effort to convert all gas stations over to hydrogen stations.
All of these are options that may have potential, but you have to ask yourself what the big oil companies think about not using oil/gasoline to power cars. I am sure they have some say in this matter.
I teach automotive technology to high school students and part of my lesson plan is to introduce alternative fuel to my students. Once we have started the lesson many of my students ask me the question: “Which alternative fuel is the best?”
I cannot give them a concrete answer.
I just show them all the options out there and let them decide.