Eco-friendly cars—which are also known as green vehicles—are motor vehicle models that do not emit as many harmful chemicals as traditional motor vehicles that are gas-powered and feature a traditional internal combustion engine. Green vehicles are generally considered to include traditional hybrid cars—which feature both an electric motor and a conventional internal combustion engine—plug-in hybrid cars—which are just hybrid vehicles with a rechargeable battery—and all-electric vehicles (EVs)—which feature an electric motor and operate only on battery power without an internal combustion engine.
Eco-friendly cars are considered to be eco-friendly primarily because they emit less carbon dioxide (CO2) than traditional gas-powered vehicles, or they emit no carbon dioxide at all. Lower carbon emissions are better for the environment because excess carbon pollutes the atmosphere and is a major contributor to the advancement of global warming. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles emit lower amounts of CO2 than vehicles with conventional internal combustion engines, and most all-electric vehicles have zero carbon tailpipe emissions.
However, eco-friendliness is not the only reason why green vehicle sales are skyrocketing in sales around the world. The advantages of eco-friendly vehicles go beyond environmental benefits—although those benefits are very important, too. Keep reading to learn three reasons why eco-friendly cars are so important on the mainstream auto market.
Combat Global Warming
The increase of greenhouse gases—which include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitric oxide (N2O)—is a major contributor to global warming and the many dangers it poses to the health of the earth and the fate of humanity as a whole. In the United States, one-third of greenhouse gas emissions come from conventional gas-powered vehicles with internal combustion engines. The average passenger vehicle emits 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.
Eventually, the ultimate goal is to replace all gas-powered vehicles with all-electric vehicles. Doing so would reduce carbon emissions in the United States alone by more than 30%. For now, however, having more eco-friendly vehicles on the road still makes a major difference in reducing carbon emissions and decreasing the number of greenhouse gases that travel into the atmosphere.
Carbon emissions of traditional hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles are not zero, because these vehicles still have conventional gas engines even though they are also powered by electric motors and batteries. However, every eco-friendly car emits less carbon than a traditional gas-powered vehicle, and all-electric vehicles without gas-powered engines have zero carbon tailpipe emissions.
Avoid Health Hazards
The emissions from traditional gas-powered vehicles with internal combustion engines create air pollution that is not just harmful to the environment. This air pollution is hazardous to the health of humans and animals, too.
Inhaling the fumes from your conventional vehicle can lead to a variety of health problems—including asthma, respiratory and cardiopulmonary disease, and lung cancer. A study from 1998 estimates that approximately 24,000 people die every year in the United Kingdom from deaths caused by air pollution.
Driving a green, the eco-friendly vehicle lowers your risk of developing these health problems because it decreases your inhalation of the toxic emissions from traditional gas-powered vehicles—and it helps protect those around you as well by reducing air pollution as a whole wherever you go.
Although most eco-friendly cars are more expensive upfront than their traditional gas-powered counterparts, that doesn’t mean that this will always be the case. Trends suggest that all-electric vehicles will actually become more affordable than conventional gas-powered vehicles within the next five or so years.
The prices of all-electric vehicles are already decreasing and are expected to continue to do so. This trend is primarily due to the increasing demand for all-electric vehicles as well as the continuous advancement of battery cell technology that will make batteries cheaper to produce and therefore lead to lower prices of all-electric vehicles.
Plus, even if the prices of all-electric vehicles were to remain at their current levels into the future—which is unlikely to happen—owning an eco-friendly vehicle can still save you money in the long run even if its initial price is higher than that of a conventional gas-powered vehicle. Eco-friendly vehicles are much more fuel-efficient than vehicles that are only powered by internal combustion engines, which can save drivers a significant amount of money in fuel costs over the years.
Eco-friendly cars do not use any fuel at all because they are powered by rechargeable batteries. The average driver of a conventional vehicle spends approximately $3,000 per year on fuel for their vehicle, so driving an all-electric vehicle could save you thousands of dollars per year.