Environmental Enhancements in Road Vehicle Technologies
In 2007, popular acceptance of the problem of global warming, and new recognition of its potential consequences, had brought carbon dioxide emissions to the front of Americans’ minds. The continued turmoil in Iraq, as well as the United States’ worsening relations with other oil rich nations such as Russia and Venezuela, highlighted a lack of energy security for Western countries importing vast quantities of petroleum. Moreover, rising gas prices were beginning to frustrate drivers at the pump while U.S. vehicles consumed 3.3 billion barrels of gasoline and 1.2 billion barrels of diesel fuel a year (as of 2006). These factors combined to create what some observers were calling a “perfect storm,” drawing attention to the developed world’s widespread addiction to oil. However, as concern about these issues was reaching an all-time high, transportation technology was undergoing a revolution. Advancements in alternative fuels, electric drive vehicles, and hybrid technologies were showing promise for reducing oil consumption. This paper examines some of these emerging innovations.