Page 1 of 1

Did you know that ..

One in five cars on the road between 8 and 9am during the school term in the UK are taking students like yourself to school.

Most of these school runs are less than 2 miles long. On every school run, each litre of petrol used produces 2.42 kg of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide is one of the main gases that traps the heat in the atmosphere causing an enhanced Greenhouse Effect possibly leading to Climate Change.

If we have to use a car, then we can help reduce pollution by driving cars powered by electricity or liquid petroleum gas (LPG).

How do vehicles use alternative fuels?
An electric car has a large battery and an electric motor to turn the wheels. In all-electric cars, the battery has to be recharged frequently from the mains. This reduces the amount of pollution released by the car itself, but there is still pollution coming from the power station that generates the electricity.

In hybrid vehicles, the battery is charged with electricity generated by a small on-board petrol or LPG engine. This normally runs at constant speed, giving the most economical use of fuel and the lowest level of pollution. In some designs of hybrid vehicle, power from the engine can be used directly to drive the wheels to assist rapid acceleration or climbing steep hills.

Research is being carried out into using fuel cells instead of engines to provide the electricity. These release even less pollution for a given journey. However, many fuel cells currently require special fuels, such as hydrogen gas. There is a lot of research underway to develop fuel cells that could run on petrol and possibly diesel.

Dual-fuelled cars
LPG engines are less polluting than those powered by petrol. However, LPG is not yet available at all filling stations. Cars are being built that can use either petrol or LPG. The change-over can be at the flick of a switch or done automatically.

Next page

Copyright CREATE 2001

Energy and the Environment

Energy Center Home