Home > Ask Gary > With April 22 being Earth Day, what is the automotive industry doing to protect Mother Earth?

With April 22 being Earth Day, what is the automotive industry doing to protect Mother Earth?

2013_Tokyo_Motor_Show_Toyota_Fuel_Cell_Vehicle_Concept_005_54229_42747_lowAccording to the American Petroleum Institute, the U.S. oil and natural gas industry invested $81 billion in technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while the federal government spent $43 billion between 2000 and 2012. They are saying that “these large investments are critical to provide the low-carbon energy we will need in the years ahead.”

The big improvement in the gas used for vehicles is that the 10% ethanol alcohol generally comes from corn. There is also research going on to develop fuel that is 85% ethanol and only 15 percent gasoline. As research progresses in coming years, there will be more stations opening for alternate sources of fuel in the U.S. as sales rise for vehicles using compressed natural gas, electric and hydrogen.

The automotive industry has also made great strides in energy efficiency and reducing emissions and there are a lot of exciting energy-efficient vehicles on the horizon.

Besides rising interest in the Toyota Prius and Prius Plug-in, Toyota recently unveiled its fuel-cell vehicle (FCV) at the Consumer Electronics Show this past January and many were surprised that the introduction of the Toyota prototype (pictured above) was chosen as the show’s opening event. Toyota claims the FCV has no emissions other than water vapor! Now that is very exciting for the environment!

Fuel cell vehicles have hydrogen tanks and represent 20 years of research and development and 11 years of testing. They are scheduled to be unveiled in California in 2015 and in larger numbers than most expect. They are working with researchers in California to help map out locations for hydrogen fueling stations. Why California? Because the Prius was the number one selling vehicle in 2012 in California. (It was also the top seller in Japan.) Hopefully, the Northeast will catch up soon.

Toyota is also continuing to research its battery performance in hybrid electrics, such as the Prius—the most popular hybrid in America. This past year marked new milestones for Toyota and its related company Lexus — two million in sales of hybrids in the U.S. and five million globally.

Many automotive manufacturers, including Toyota, are trying to figure out how to balance the energy efficiency savings and the contribution to saving the environment with creating more cost-efficient vehicles. Stay tuned! Good things are on the horizon for the environment and for consumers.

Considering buying an environmentally-friendly vehicle? Come to Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion and we will help you determine which is the best vehicle for you. We have hybrids including various models of the Prius, Camry and Avalon that are all energy-efficient.

Let’s all try to make a difference on Earth Day, even if it means driving a little less and walking a little more on April 22.

Ask Gary Jaffarian

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