There's more than one way for cars to be eco friendly. Each individual car can be fuel efficient and made with sustainable manufacturing and shipping processes, people can use cars in an eco friendly way or a combination of the two.
There are even groups of individuals that are sharing eco friendly cars for community use. Below I have discovered some of the ways that people use cars and descriptions of some of the best eco friendly cars on the market today.
Hybrids - These work by capturing the energy that is created when the car breaks. This energy is stored in batteries, then used as fuel until it is gone, at which point the car switches automatically to the gas engine. Hybrids are quieter than conventional cars and don't require special facilities for fueling. If you live in California or Arizona, you get the added bonus of being able to use the carpool lane any time you wish.
Biodiesel - This fuel is a blend of vegetable oil and conventional diesel fuel. Any existing engine that uses diesel fuel (most trucks, for instance) can use biodiesel with no equipment conversion or other extra measures, although you might wish to change your oil filter slightly more often. You can also switch back and forth between biodiesel and regular diesel if you don't have a steady supply.
Biodiesel is a great way to make your driving more eco friendly with the car you already have, or with a used vehicle. Diesel engines can be modified to run on straight vegetable oil (SVO), although fueling with SVO entails more work for the consumer.
Ethanol-based - This type of fuel additive is usually made from wheat, corn, or barley. The most common fuel made from ethanol is called E85. E85 is a blend of 15 percent conventional gasoline and 85 percent ethanol. Ethanol is eco friendly because it reduces emissions. As a bonus, it also costs less than conventional gasoline in most locations.
Some people do not like ethanol because they feel that growing crops for fuel threatens food supply and drives up the prices of vegetables and meat (corn used as animal feed) at the grocery store.
Be aware that availability of E85 varies wildly by location, For example, there are no public E85 stations at all in New York and only one in California. But there are over a hundred of them in the state of Illinois for instance.
Most auto manufacturers produce models that are Ethanol Flexible Fuel Vehicles or FFV's, which let you fuel up with either E85 or conventional gas.
Some popular Eco Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFV's) include the:
Many cars are marketed as eco friendly in today's automotive market. Of these, hybrids are the most popular. Eco friendly hybrid cars use both a conventional gasoline engine and an electric one. They are far less polluting than gasoline-only vehicles, making a big impact, as every unused gallon of gas saves 19 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. This can really add up nation or worldwide.
Hybrids use the electric engine for stopping and starting the car, which means that they are even more energy efficient in city driving than they are on the highway, where they use gasoline constantly.
Federal and state tax incentives help to subsidize the higher sticker price of most eco friendly cars. Even so, top-rated hybrids may take up to five years to pay for themselves in fuel efficiency. If you plan to keep your vehicle at least five years, which is even more of an eco friendly decision than getting a hybrid in the first place, then you'll have the opportunity to be eco friendly and save some money in the long run as well.
Here's a quick comparison of the most popular and Top-rated Hybrid Models on the market today:
Eco friendliness and cars can go together in more ways than one. The Facebook application for Zimride targets 80 million Facebook social network users worldwide to help folks save money, get where they need to go, and shrink their carbon footprints. To do so, they use software that combines Google Maps, social networking, and a proprietary algorithm. Zimride partners with cities, universities, and companies to provide ride-share solutions across the globe.
You can even set up a fully customized carpool community for your organization, if you wish!
Zimride, in cooperation with Live Earth, sponsors an application called Carpool to the Polls to get everyone out there voting in an eco friendly way. Zimride also teams up with Ecorio so that owners of phones with the Android mobile operating system can not only connect with ride shares, but also use GPS to track travel related carbon emissions and locate public transit alternatives.
If you're interested in eco friendly rental cars, especially if you're an urban dweller who doesn't necessarily need your own eco car, you might be interested in joining a car sharing service. The popular car-sharing service Zipcar has been around and saving its customers money and hassle for a while, but now they're facing some stiff competition, as Connect by Hertz has entered the market in several American cities.
While competing with Zipcar, Connect includes gas, roadside assistance, and insurance in the price of the rental, and even the option to rent Zipcar's trademark model, the Mini Cooper.
Although Connect's own trademark vehicle, the Toyota Prius, green "one-ups" them. Their eco car rentals also include iPod connectivity, EZ Pass transponders, and in-car navigation, which may be desirable features.
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Related Eco Topics of Interest:
Go to Honda GX NGV Eco Car Review
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Go to Toyota Yaris Eco car Review
Go to Mini Cooper Eco Car Review
Go to Ford Fusion Hybrid Eco Car Review
Go to Toyota Prius Hybrid Eco Car Review
Go to Nissan Altima Hybrid Eco Car Review
Go to Honda Civic Hybrid Eco Car Review
Go from Lexus GS450H Hybrid Eco Car Review
Go to Toyota Camry Hybrid Eco Car Review
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