Gasoline has been around for quite awhile now, yet it will become known as the fuel of the past. At the rate that we are using petroleum, the wells in which we obtain it will soon run dry. Edwin Drake was known for digging the first oil well in 1859. He used the oil that he recovered for kerosene and discarded the rest of the products that came from its distiller. If only he knew that in the future we would be paying so much for those precious byproducts.
In the 1950’s cars were being made heavier and faster, which lead to an increase of octane levels. They added lead to the gasoline to help improve engine performance. In the 1970s, unleaded gasoline was introduced and a health concern about lead poisoning became an issue. In the 1980s the United States completely phased out lead in gasoline altogether. However, lead can still be found in gasoline in other countries.
According to the Environmental Information Administration (EIA), there are approximately 234 million vehicles that use gasoline to travel on an average of 12,000 miles per year. The amount of BTU in one gallon of gasoline is 114,000, and the United States consumes about 140 billion gallons each year. American Energy Independence calculates that at $3.00 per gallon times 140 billion gallons of gasoline, Americans spend 420 billion dollars on gasoline each year. In addition, we put 47 percent of energy into refining petroleum. For a vehicle traveling for 15,000 with an average fuel efficiency of 42 miles per gallon, it would cost $1,071 for gasoline.
Hybrids are currently the best fuel economy cars readily available to and safe for the public. The Toyota Prius Hybrid gets 60/51 gallons per mile, and its greenhouse gas emissions are 5,100 pounds per 15,000 miles. The Honda Civic Hybrid gets 50/50 miles per gallon and emits 5,700 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. The Ford Escape 4×4 Hybrid gets 33/29 miles per gallon, but its greenhouse gas emissions are 9,200 pounds per 15,000 miles. However, the best fuel economy mode of transportation is the bicycle.
Upgrading your car to a hybrid is probably one of the best decisions you can make in 2009. Dealerships are cutting deals so in the end you could save double your money when you include the car’s price cut as well as the reduction in your future gas expenses.