The humanity stands in need of fuels and energy services for lighting, cooling, and heating of houses, powering information devices, and domestic appliances. Furthermore, fuel is needed for ensuring the wanted services, connected with the vehicles industries. It is estimated that the amount of fuel used for the purposes of transportation nowadays is more than sixty times bigger than 500 years ago. No one denies the fact that the majority of consumers pay attention to the costs of fuels and care about fuel economy. Enhancing fuel economy provides the consumers, automakers, and policymakers with a unique opportunity to minimize fuel consumption without sacrificing the driving of vehicles. Consequently, reduced oil usage lessens the emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and causes insignificant economic impact when the prices for oil increase. Numerous studies estimate that advancements in fuel economy are advantageous and cost-effective. As a result, fuel economy is extremely important as it helps to save money, intensifies national energy security, and prevents environmental pollution (Pizer 21).
It is rather important to note that the disposal of fuels influences not only the economic and social spheres of human lives, as the burning of fuel is one of the major contributors to climate change, caused by humans. Carbon dioxide, released in the process of fuel burning, has the most significant concentrations of greenhouse gases. In order to decrease the emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and to slow down climate change, people are required to reduce dependence on fossil fuels (Wuebbles and Jain 103).
For instance, consumption of petroleum products constituted more than forty percent of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere in 2006. Nowadays, scientists emphasize that in order to avoid catastrophic climate changes and global warming, the use of fuel should be cut down. Furthermore, according to the results provided by International Panel on Climate Change, all countries around the globe are obliged to minimize the emissions of carbon dioxide to 20 – 35 % by 2020. At present, in spite of the lowest number of inhabitants, Alaska is one of the largest CO2 pollutants in the world. British Petroleum has to bear responsibility for carbon dioxide emissions in Alaska as the company is considered to be the primary industrial source of pollution (Wuebbles and Jain 104).
Motor vehicles industries play a significant role in human lives as they influence the phenomenon of people’s mobility in a positive way. However, vehicles are considered to be the major source of various kinds of pollution. Furthermore, it contributes to rapid climate change and global warming. Vehicles that require the combustion of fuel release the hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere. Developed countries make numerous efforts in order to minimize pollution from vehicles and make the means of transport cleaner and more environmentally friendly. However, despite the fact that scientists have already succeeded in creating more harmless vehicles, such highly polluting means of transport as buses, trucks, and motorcycles are still widely used by consumers (Harrington and McConnel 7).
Scientists estimate that the emissions from motor vehicles contribute to a vast range of local and global problems. The majority of damaging pollutants from transportation means are originated directly from the fuel that is not definitely combusted. Additionally, the other pollutants come from chemical processes during combustion. Gasoline and diesel engines of vehicles differ due to the variety of emission patterns. It is necessary to note that diesel engines emit enormous amounts of NOx into the atmosphere. On the contrary, gasoline engines are characterized by considerable amounts of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and oxides of nitrogen released into the atmosphere (Harrington and McConnel 7).
Emissions from vehicles not only contaminate air, but damage human health and vegetation. For example, emissions of O3 involve the following negative consequences on human health: eye and throat irritation, sneezing, and coughing. Total Suspended Particles derived from vehicles are divided into two basic categories: coarse and fine particles. In fact, fine particles may lead to more serious health consequences, as they can easily reach the tissue of lungs, stay inside it for a relatively long period of time, and damage it. Sulfate aerosols released in the process of fuel burning are extremely harmful to human health, as it stimulates the development of such diseases as pneumonia, bronchitis, and asthma. Lead that is added to gasoline weakens the human health, as it may be absorbed by organs and tissues inside human body (Harrington and McConnel 7).
At present, the USA and the countries of Europe make attempts with the primary purpose to implement efficient vehicle emission policies in order to reduce gaseous emissions and to keep a balanced and clean environment. For instance, the USA was the first country to take measures in order to lessen air contamination from transportation means. According to the Clean Air Act, the United States of America has intended to focus on light-duty vehicles that produce less HC, NOx, and CO2 into the atmosphere. Numerous strict controls should be imposed on the vehicles in order to decrease the amounts of pollution drastically (Harrington and McConnel 7).
Scientists state that manufacturers should be encouraged to produce more environmentally-friendly and safer motor vehicles. Moreover, motorists should be obliged not to neglect the rules and limitations concerning the fuel burning. According to the Clean Air Act, one more way to decrease pollution is to exclude lead from gasoline. Therefore, vast expansion and usage of catalysts may decrease NO2 to extremely low levels. Scientists in the countries of Europe suppose that severe car standards may lower the amounts of pollutants. It has been estimated that diesel engines produced on the territories of the USA and Europe after 2005 are characterized by low percentages of emissions. Many countries of Europe introduce large numbers of environmental taxes imposed on fuels that include low and high amounts of sulfur. As a result, nowadays, majority of countries around the globe are actively implementing various strategies, restrictions, and laws with the purpose to overcome problems related to fuel efficiency (Harrington and McConnel 7).
In the 21st century, the way of human life depends on mobility. Various types of fuels, including gasoline, diesel, and others, satisfy transportation needs of people. Currently, gasoline and diesel are considered to be the most wide-spread types of fuel that are widely used to run cars, buses, trucks, airplanes, cargo ships, and locomotives. However, at present, fuel combustion has to bear responsibility for climate change, global warming, and many other environmental and human health concerns. At present, motor vehicles emit more than 20% of CO2 into the atmosphere. There are three basic ways to reduce the emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere: to lessen the rates of vehicular travel; to enhance the fuel effectiveness and economy of motor vehicles; to search for alternative sources of fuel, characterized by lower greenhouse gas potential. Nowadays, the USA and Europe implement effective vehicle emission strategies to reduce gaseous emissions into the atmosphere, decrease environmental pollution, and increase the efficiency of fuel usage.
Anderson, Soren T., et al. “Automobile Fuel Economy Standards: Impacts, Efficiency, and Alternatives.” 4 August 2011. Web. 29 Dec. 2014.
Harrington, Winston, and Virginia McConnell. “Motor Vehicles and the Environment.” Resources for the Future Report, April 2003. Web. 29 Dec. 2014.
Pizer, William A. “The Economics of Improving Fuel Economy.” Resources for the Future, September 2006. Web. 29 Dec. 2014.
Wuebbles, Donald J., and Atul K. Jain. “Concerns about Climate Change and the Role of Fossil Fuel Use.” Fuel Processing Technology 71.1 (2001): 99-119. Web. 29 Dec. 2014.