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Alternative fuel cars – an option for all?

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The idea of “going green” is just a media-hyped catchphrase to a lot of people. On the other hand some people take the term very seriously as millions are finding various ways to help better the environment. One popular method that many consumers are turning to is buying alternative fuel cars.

The notion of buying an alternative fuel car has both its advantages and disadvantages, whether it’s cost, durability or resources. There are many factors for people to consider when deciding if an alternative fuel car is a smart personal choice. First, what exactly is an alternative fuel car?

In the most basic terms alternative fuel cars are any vehicles that don’t rely or run on gasoline or “petroleum fuel.” The majority of vehicles on the road today are dependent on gasoline. What most people don’t know is that the gasoline pumped daily comes at a great cost, both from a financial and political standpoint.

Alternative fuel cars reverse this by using various “clean energy” sources in a variety of ways. Millions of light and heavy duty cars use advanced technology to take advantage of this, and many are beginning to be used by numerous organizations, including businesses, private agencies, and, most importantly, consumers and everyday people.

Alternative fuel and advanced vehicles come in a variety of makes and models and run on a number of different fuels. “Alternative fuels” are vehicle fuels that aren’t made from petroleum, and there are many different kinds. The United States Department of Energy officially recognizes a particularly large list of alternative fuels.

All of this can be a bit confusing for a first-time buyer or anyone unfamiliar with cars. Jerry Tores, head of Envirolink, a non profit organization designed to educate the public regarding alternative fuel cars, admits it’s not an easy choice for many to make.

“The information is definitely available. It’s more the task of trying to convince people that it’s an important investment not just for personal reasons but also for the environment,” Tores said.

Indeed getting the general public to even garner interest for alternative fuel cars is a task by itself. Students here on Chabot’s campus seem to possess mixed feelings about taking the steps to “go green.”

“I’d definitely like to buy one eventually,” said first-year student Anthony Reynolds, “But it’s just not an option right now. Hell, I can barely pay for my books let alone some fancy car.”

But there are also some students who hold a more optimistic view. “It something I’ve actually really been considering. I mean if it’ll save me money in the long run, why not?” said one student.

The main issue that seems to be facing consumers is price. The average alternative fuel car can be a lot more expensive than the average gasoline-run car, which can be a deciding factor for people in these tough economic times. But like in all consumer industries there are always cheaper alternatives.

People may hold different views but information is always available. There tons of websites detailing the differences between all the options, making it a bit easier to decide what is right for you.

Ask your local car dealer for information on the necessary steps to take. We all can do our part to help the environment, but can the cost of “going green” be too much of a hassle for some?

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S.F. Auto Show throws a few new punches


Finally that time of the year reigned in on us, when we can go stuff ourselves with turkey and sit in cars we will probably never see again. Sponsored by the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Francisco International Auto Show was held in downtown San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Not to be entirely outdone by the Los Angeles Auto Show, the SF Auto Show threw a few new punches of its own.
Read the full story

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Electric cars on campus


On Saturday, August 28th, the annual Electric Vehicle Festival and Rally was held by the Electric Auto Association (EAA) on the Chabot College campus.

The purpose of the EAA is to encourage the creation of electric vehicles, thereby improving energy usage, vehicle safety, and resource efficiency. Similar to other car shows, the EAA came and displayed their brand of automotive genius.

Currently, there are three types of cars on the public market: gasoline run, the electric vehicle (EV), and a hybrid of the two.

Electric cars are run by a controller from which they draw energy. The controller regulates the amount of power based upon the amount of acceleration a driver chooses to use. EV uses rechargeable batteries for its power, which can be recharged like any other household batteries.

Gasoline engines use fossil fuel extracted from ancient parts of the Earth’s core. Power is obtained from the fuel by burning it, which releases carbon dioxide that damages the ozone layer.

The ozone layer is what filters the Sun’s harmful rays and allows Earth’s inhabitants to sustain a comfortable life. The average gasoline run passenger car emits 11,450 lbs of carbon dioxide which pollutes the air and erodes the ozone layer.

Electric cars emit nothing. The following demonstrates the differences between gasoline powered and electric cars.

There are many misconceptions surrounding EV. We will dispel some of them here.

Myth: EVs are wimpy and not quick to accelerate.

Fact: EVs are able to reach speeds similar to gasoline run cars. The Chevy Volt can go from 0 to 60 in 9 seconds with a 150-HP equivalent engine. EVs can reach up to 100 miles per hour depending on the engine and vehicle type.

Myth: EVs are too expensive.

Fact: EVs run from $2000 to $4000 more than their gas powered equivalents. However, not only would an owner rarely be paying for gas, there are incentives and rebates that go along with the purchase of an electric vehicle.

With the $7,500 federal tax cut, Chevy Volt retails around $33,500, Nissan Leaf drops to around $25,300, and, compared to a year of gas and its retail price, the Chevy Aveo sits at around $23,400.

Over the life of the car one would spend less time at gas stations and less money on maintenance. Furthermore, the payback to the environment is priceless. The payoff far outweighs the initial cost.

Myth: Electric cars are small and ugly.

Fact: The EAA has many ‘normal’ vehicles that have been converted to electric and there are many car manufacturers that are developing newer, more visually pleasing cars. Depending on one’s budget, options range from hatchbacks like the Chevy Volt to sports cars like the Tesla Roadster.

The EAA is a non-profit educational organization that has been established since 1967. There are chapters almost everywhere, with 16 in California alone. To become a member please go to their website at www.eaaev.org.

There are classifieds that may be helpful when trying to buy an electric car and many other informational outlets on electric cars and upcoming events.

If interested in electric vehicles but not ready to buy one, car rental companies will start offering the Nissan Leaf in 2011 to consumers.

The EAA is a great way to get your foot in the door and begin to understand alternative methods of owning a vehicle. Transportation is the most damaging to our planet compared to any other source, so taking steps to becoming more aware, and possibly converting, is the best thing any of us can do.

Citations

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2009/08/21/test-drive-tesla-roadster/

http://www.eaaev.org /

http://www.electricwheelsinc.com /

http://www.manufacturing.net/News/2010/07/Automotive-Transportation-GM-Nissan-Compete-For-Most-Affordable-Electric-Car/

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Young adult author Erica Lorraine Scheidt, read from her award nominated book Used of Boys. #ChabotCollege #Library #Books #Author

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Sitting with Dr. Stacy Thompson VP of Academic Services of #chabotcollege in Building 200, on April 9, 2014.

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Victory, the Chabot Gladiators tennis fought In the heat to beat American River college 5-4 on Tuesday, April. 8, 2014 at Hayward, Calif. The win over ARC helped the  Chabot tennis team move on to the next round of the playoffs where they will face the undefeated Foothill Owls. (David Soriano/ChabotSpectator/Athletics) #Chabot #tennis #win #winning
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Donald Pearson seen here took 6th overall at the Sacramento State Hornet Invitational for the long jump with a distance of 6.89m on Mar. 22, 2014, Sacramento CA. Pearson jumped against 30 other athletes that include a few NCAA D1 athletes. Photo by David Soriano @runthatdistancetf
Daniel Estrada of Chabot (8) outkicks the field with a time of 1:58.75 during the Hornet Invitational on Mar. 22, 2014 at Sacramento State. Estrada is the first Gladiator to break the 2:00 mark this year, just 3 weeks ago his personal best was a 2:10!! #tracknation #chabog #track
Choral spring concert as they sing The Terrible Tale of Tom Gilligan at bldg. 1200 on Mar. 20, 2014.
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It was the 47th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival Preview Day today at the Peace Plaza in San Francisco's Japantown on Saturday, Mar. 15, 2014.  The candidates for the 2014 Cherry Blossom Queen's Court was introduced to the press.  Shimaoka Kazusa-Kai
San Francisco Koto Ensemble were among one of the performers who entertained attendees at the Cherry Blossom Festival Preview Day.
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FINAL. Chabot's season comes to an end with loss to SBVC in the Final Four. 78-68. Still doesn't erase the fantastic season our Gladiators had. Chabot finishes the year with a 25-8 record.
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