In July of 2008, gas prices reached an all-time high of about $4.10. Around November, prices dropped dramatically and since then have had a fluctuating yet steady increase up until today. With the increase of gas prices, people searched for a way to get around cheaper. Car companies began making their cars have better mpg rates and even started providing cars with a different power source. With the anxiety surrounding rising gas prices and the weak economy came the popularity of Hybrid Cars.
Hybrid cars were originally thought of when the first car was built but we did not have the knowledge or technological advances to make it work. As the years went on and humans became more technologically advanced, Hybrid cars began to have a big impact on the environment and society. Toyota released the Hybrid Prius in 2000 which was the first four-door sedan to be available in the United States. In 2002, Honda joined Toyota and introduced the Honda Civic Hybrid. The Honda Civic Hybrid was Honda’s second Hybrid gasoline-electric car available. It had the same appearance and drivability as the conventional Civic.
The car companies have built up a good reputation for Hybrid cars. Ford proudly displays on their website that they are rated number one as the best global green brand for their various styles of eco-friendly cars. Ford has produced four different types of eco-friendly cars: EcoBoost, Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid, and All-Electric. Hybrid cars do not plug in. They just have highly efficient gas mileage and impressive battery power, according to Ford. The plug-in Hybrids charge the battery of the car by regenerative braking like the normal Hybrid but also have the option of being plugged in to recharge the battery. All-Electric Hybrids don not use gasoline. All you have to do is charge it and drive. All electric Hybrids are easier on the environment because of the lack of exhaust fumes going into the atmosphere. Hybrid cars may be advertised as totally eco-friendly, but are they really?
With further research into this topic, it was found that Hybrids are built almost exactly the same as the conventional car. This includes the forging of materials such as glass, plastic, aluminum, and steel. Toyota admitted that producing Hybrid cars actually releases more carbon dioxide into the air than producing conventional cars. Experts have said that ten to twenty percent of the greenhouse gases produced by a car during its lifetime are emitted during the production stage. This is because the Hybrids contain more advanced components like a second electric motor and heavy battery packs. Lightweight cars also use more energy to produce due to the materials used. Aluminum is lighter than stainless steel and therefore harder to forge. There are also additional environmental concerns regarding rare earth metals used in the production of the cars. The rare earth metals were mined in China and initially imported from there due to their low prices. China was able to lower their price of lithium because they ignored environmental safeguards while mining. The Chinese government admitted that rare earth metal mining has been abused and this is causing harm to the environment.
Despite the controversy surrounding the manufacturing of Hybrid cars, they are in fact more eco-friendly than the traditional vehicle. Traditional vehicles do not give operators the option to switch from gas power to battery power. All-Electric Hybrids are considered the most eco-friendly of all four types of Hybrids Ford has released. The Hybrid cars produce more carbon dioxide when being manufactured. Traditional cars produce exhaust fumes when being driven on the roads. Would the environment rather have more carbon dioxide, a natural gas produced by most if not all living beings, or have unnatural exhaust fumes clogging up the air? The answer is simple.
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