We need better alternatives to power vehicles

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Friday, June 10, 2011
EDITORíS NOTE: This is among commentaries written by students in the Washington Seminar program at Janesville Parker High School. The seminar is for students in the advanced placement U.S. government course taught by Joe Van Rooy.

The controversy of alternate-fueled vehicles was the subject of my interviews in Washington, D.C. My ideals changed from what they were before I left for Washington. Before I left, I thought E85 was fuel of the future and all vehicles should have E85 capabilities. I even had my father put E85 in his Chevy HHR. We learned however, that when he did that, he got worse gas mileage, but we didnít know why.

What I didnít know is that E85, which is 85 percent ethanol, has a lower fuel range and doesnít produce the same amount of energy as the same volume of petroleum. An E85 engine needs almost 50 percent more fuel to be equivalent to petroleum fuel. So when you fill up your tank with E85, you are not getting the most for your money.

Also, before I went to Washington, I thought electric vehicles were the cars of the future because they donít have to run on gasoline of any kind. However, Bryan Wynne with Electric Drive Transportation stated, ďEven though there are some manufacturers that are thriving, it would take years of research to perfect the product so that there are Ö few flaws.Ē

Among flaws are that they do not have a very long driving range and the time needed to recharge. It takes from five to seven hours to fully charge a Chevy Volt, for example.

I believe we must do more research to further our knowledge so we can use the renewable resources on this planet. Also, to power vehicles, we need to find renewable resources that are plentiful in the United States.

To fix these flaws and develop better alternative fuels would be beneficial in these fragile times.

Last updated: 5:42 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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