The price of gasoline is eating up large amounts of the income that your company makes. Imagine that you’re totally in charge of the company’s transportation division, and that your boss has told you that the amount of your raise depends on how much money you can save the company in transportation costs. Are you ready to deeply analyze your company’s fleet to make more money? We hope that you have a “gas” with this investigation.
What is a conventional gasoline vehicle?Most personal vehicles in the U.S. are currently powered by internal combustion gasoline engines. This type of engine sprays the gasoline into a fine mist, compresses the fuel, and then a spark plug ignites causing the fuel to explode, which drives the engine. Gasoline engines have efficiency ratings typically between 25 - 30%.
What is a diesel vehicle?Diesel engines operate much like gasoline engine with a couple of exceptions. First, diesel engines do not use a spark plug to ignite the fuel. Instead, diesel engines use extremely high compressions to raise the temperature of the fuel to a point where the fuel ignites without a spark. A second major difference between the two engine types is that diesel engines are generally more efficient than gasoline engines. Many diesel engines have efficiency ratings around 40%.
What is a natural gas vehicle?Most natural gas powered vehicles operate using two types of fuels, compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG). CNG vehicles are much more common in the U.S., with nearly a 40 to 1 advantage in numbers. The hydrocarbon that makes up most of the natural gas used in vehicles is mainly methane. Natural gas is less corrosive on engine parts than gasoline, which results in a much longer average engine life. Limitations of widespread use of natural gas as a vehicle fuel include the high cost, the danger associated with the on-vehicle storage of the gas under extreme pressure (over 3000 psi), and the currently limited number of fueling stations.
What is an E-85 vehicle?E-85 stands for a blend of vehicle fuel that has 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Since ethanol can be extracted from certain natural plants, such as corn, the fuel is viewed as being a renewable energy source. E-85 fuels are reported to reduce engine wear and increase engine performance. However, E-85 vehicles typically get between 20 - 30% fewer miles per gallon of fuel than a traditional gasoline engine.
What is an electric vehicle?Electric vehicles (EVs) use batteries to power an electric motor, which in turn drives the vehicle. The batteries are typically recharged at home charging stations, although a few locations have installed on-demand charging stations. EVs do boast no exhaust emissions, so their direct impact on the environment is very slight; however, since fossil fuels are often burned to generate electrical energy needed for charging the vehicles, their overall environmental footprint is not as clean as at first glance. Advantages reported for EVs are high efficiencies (around 90%), fewer mechanical problems due to their simpler engine, and significantly reduced noise pollution. Disadvantages of EVs include the lack of public charging stations, relatively small vehicle range due to battery limitations, and the high cost and disposal issues of battery replacement.
What is a hydrogen vehicle?Many have suggested that hydrogen is the fuel of the future. The combustion of hydrogen gas combines it with oxygen gas, which produces heat and only water as a byproduct. For this reason, hydrogen power is often cited as the cleanest fuel source. Vehicle operating on hydrogen gas would not directly contribute to air pollution. However, hydrogen powered vehicles do have limitations, including a low energy content per volume, concerns about safety and the high costs associated with on-vehicle storage of the gas, and an extremely limited number of public fueling stations currently available.
What is a biodiesel vehicle?Biodiesel engines use a combination of diesel fuel with either animal or plant oils. The percentage of oils versus diesel fuel is stated in the fuel rating, which goes from B100 (all oil) to B2 (2% oil and 98% diesel fuel). Standard diesel engines can usually operate with no engine modifications using B20 fuels or lower. Biodiesel fuels are typically better engine lubricants, which reduces engine wear and improves engine life. Biodiesel fuels are also viewed as being a partially renewable energy source since the oils portion of the fuel can be regrown. Negatives of using the fuel include its high viscosity that limits the fuel's use in cold climates and the fuel's high likelihood of being contaminated with water.
What is a gasohol vehicle?Gasohol refers to vehicle engines that operate using 90% gasoline and up to 10% ethanol. Most gasoline engines operate normally using gasohol, in fact, most gasoline sold today in the U.S. is actually gasohol. Gasohol reportedly reduces engine carbon monoxide emissions by 30% and does not significantly lower engine efficiency.
What is a cooking oil vehicle?Most diesel engines can run efficiently on pure vegetable oil. However, the high viscosity of the oil requires that the fuel be heated to increase its ability to flow to effectively power the vehicle. Some diesel engines are modified to start the engine using only diesel fuel, and then switch to the cooking oil once the engine temperature is high enough to lower the viscosity of the oil. Currently, many business owners are happy to give away used cooking oil used in their fryers to drivers of cooking oil-powered vehicles; however, as the number of these vehicles increase, the cost associated with the fuel will certainly rise.
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