Comparing Gas Powered Cars to Electric Powered Cars

  electric  and gasoline car concept

What's the difference between gas powered and electric powered cars?

Actually, there's quite a bit of difference, if you didn't know. For example, the process of cooking on a gas stove versus an electric stove is not all that distinct, and the end result is usually always the same. The mechanics and the end result of gasoline-powered cars versus electric-powered cars, however, are much different. In this section, we'll show you how different gasoline and electric cars really are. 

Gasoline Powered Vehicles

Arguably, gas powered cars have sustained our way of life. The price we've paid for the convenience they bring, however, has had long term damaging effects on our earth's atmosphere, our natural resources and, due to exorbitant fuel prices, our wallets.

From a mechanical perspective, gas-powered cars have an internal combustion engine in which fuel is burned to create pressure.  That pressure results in very useful energy that powers other parts of the engine to propel the vehicle forward.

For decades, gasoline was proven to be the ideal fuel for generating that useful energy. However, conventional, gasoline-burning internal combustion engines pollute our air by releasing harmful emissions such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxide into the atmosphere.  Additionally, gas in the 1950s cost about 18 cents per gallon. Nowadays, gas prices have increased by about 1500 percent. Since gasoline has become a lifeline for the cars we drive, its demand is high and in turn, so are fuel prices.

Electric Powered Vehicles

Electric powered vehicles (EVs) contain a set of batteries, or battery pack, and an electric motor. They do not make use of an internal combustion engine, nor do they need fuel. Plus, no exhaust fumes or emissions are released into the environment. The battery pack must be recharged from a power source, such as an electrical outlet.

In the early 1990s, the government made a push for more fuel efficient, zero-emissions vehicles. Automakers responded, and in the following years, electric vehicles were taken from concept to production. Obviously, they're not as widely available as conventional gas-powered cars, but more and more EV's are being introduced and used on today's roads. It's convenient to drive your EV home, plug it in, and let it charge for the night.  But if you're on the road and need more juice, your local charging station may not be as close as the nearest gas station. Plus, charging an electric vehicle could take several hours to complete. However, the future looks bright and some carmakers are researching and deploying EV systems that could recharge an electric car in a matter of minutes.

What's more, previous generations of electric vehicles used lead-acid batteries that only have a driving range of about 80 miles per charge. Newer EV technology makes use of lithium-ion batteries that can have a driving range of more than 200 miles per charge.

The Hybrid Compromise

When you combine the superior aspects of a gas powered car with the superior aspects of an electric car, you get a hybrid vehicle.  Hybrids aim to increase fuel economy and reduce harmful emissions compared to conventional gas powered cars, while harnessing the energy and overcoming the inadequacies of electric vehicle technologies.

In short, there are significant differences between gasoline and electric power in vehicles, both in the mechanics involved and the end result — in this case, the impact on our environment and our finances.  Automakers have successfully bridged the gap between the two with the introduction of hybrid cars, and as new green car technologies emerge, we're quickly evolving away from conventional cars towards more fuel efficient, environmentally-friendly automobiles.  It will be interesting to witness emerging green car technologies and how these technologies impact — and hopefully improve — our environment, our health, our finances and our overall way of life.

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