It is obvious that we, as a community, are producing an awful lot of pollution. The long and short term effects of over-polluting the environment are anything but predictable; stressing any equilibrium system will result in a change to counteract the stress applied (Le Chatelier’s Principle). Whether you believe in global warming or not, the potential hazards of continuing to pollute and destroy the environment will, in the end, change the planet. Unless you just don’t care about the future of the planet (the planet in which our children and grandchildren will be living on), it is inevitable that we will have to change our habits. Reducing the amount of water we use and turning off the lights when we leave the room help a bit, but of all the things we need to change in our personal lives, our automobiles are definitely at the top of the list.
Going "green" is the phrase best described as the process of converting yourself into a more environmentally conscious person. There are "green" shopping bags, which are made from recycled products, "green"furniture, and most importantly, there are "green" cars. Honda, Toyota, and various other car manufacturers have begun developing fuel efficient cars; even Ford’s Focus is capable of getting more than 30 miles to the gallon. Hybrid technology, which involves utilizing both a gas engine and an electrical engine together, has definitely aided the "green" car movement; enabling some vehicles to use less fuel to travel the same distance. It’s about time that we gave up the cheap thrills of massive gas-guzzling engines to look for alternative transportation methods that are less damaging to the environment.
For years, unfortunately, the cost of owning a hybrid vehicle has been much too costly for the average person. It would take months to make up for the cost in gas savings and for many people, such as construction contractors, the power supplied by a hybrid vehicle wouldn’t be sufficient to tow a trailer. Recently, however, hybrid vehicles have entered into the sub $25,000 range; it is now possible to "go green" without breaking the bank. Apart from the hybrid Hondas and Toyotas on the market, Saturn has recently released the pricing of its newest hybrid vehicle: the Aura Green Line, which is to be released this spring. Thanks to technological advances in hybrid technology, the Aura hybrid, at $22,695, will be the least expensive "green" hybrid on the market. There is also a $1,300 tax credit offered to those who purchase Saturn’s newest "green" car.
Modeled after the Saturn Aura (non-hybrid model), which won the 2007 North American Car Of The Year Award, The Aura hybrid is a great valued automobile. At 28 miles per gallon in the city and 35 miles per gallon on the highway (EPA ratings), the "green" model of the Aura is 30% more efficient than its non-hybrid version (20mpg city and 30mpg highway). Technology, in the form of onboard computers, joins with mechanics to efficiently combine the Aura’s electrical and gas engines; the electrical engine kicks in to assist during acceleration, shuts off while the car idles, and is able to recharge itself during braking. The 4 cylinder 2.4L engine is capable of producing 164 horsepower (quite a lot in comparison to some "green" vehicles) and although the Aura cannot move solely on electrical power, the onboard computers are able to optimize the balance between the electrical and gas engines to achieve the greatest fuel efficiency.
The true technological marvel of modern hybrid mechanics revolves around the concept of regenerative braking. During the breaking process, the electrical engine apparatus is able to capture and store the energy associated with decelerating. This energy is then recycled into powering the electrical engine when the car begins to accelerate again. Furthermore, when the car is running solely on the gas engine, it assists in charging the electrical engine’s battery. This cycle, in short, is what permits hybrid cars to be much more efficient that non-hybrid cars. Since conventional engines use a fair amount of gas during acceleration, the help of an electrical engine reduces the amount of gas needed to get the car running at the desired velocities.
The Aura Green Line by Saturn is definitely a promising vehicle. Boasting relatively high miles to the gallon at 28 in the city and 35 on the highway, and producing over 160 horsepower, the new Auras are a whole lot of car for just $22,695. As proven by the Aura Green Line, technological advances have helped make hybrid cars less expensive and even more efficient.
In My Opinion
Hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles are the way of the future. Not only will the consumer save more money at the pump, but they will also satisfy their environmentally conscious self in knowing that their fancy new hybrid car is better for the planet. Investing in a vehicle like Saturn’s Aura Green Line is now more economically feasible; at just $22,695, it is definitely worth test driving and looking at.
The technology behind hybrid vehicles is truly amazing and the mastery and computing prowess that combines each car’s electrical and gas engines is astonishing. While it would still be much more environmentally beneficial to have car that get over 100mpg, the hybrid cars on the market are definitely leading the "green" movement to more efficient automobiles. My interest in technology behind hybrid vehicles has been aroused and I will be supporting the development of more fuel efficient cars and technologies throughout my life.
If you are planning on purchasing a new car, I urge you to at least test drive the new Aura and some of the other less expensive hybrids on the market (provided they fit into your allotted budget). Going "green" in any way, shape, or form, will help save your children’s planet from the consequences of over-polluting the environment.
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