The Fuel of the Future is Here

by : Joe Thompson

Today's vehicles are fortified with the latest advances in technology to create eye-popping designs, state-of-the-art auto parts, revolutionary amenities and remarkably low emissions to meet the standards. In fact, the most promising vehicles of the present time are coming into the market place with the most-advanced and environment friendly fuels. These fuels, as a fact, offer a slice of the future and they are just under your nose.

It is, by far, the oldest technology in connection with auto fuel. Nonetheless, diesel has some important features that could serve as a bridge to the future. Diesel engines are said to be at least 30 percent more thermally efficient than gasoline engines. Modern day diesel engines are designed to blend well with the vehicle to deliver a quiet and efficient operation. The BLUETEC technology which was initiated jointly by the Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen brands, is well-accepted by auto aficionados.

This fuel is domestic and renewable. Usually, biodiesel is derived from natural oils such as canola and soybean. Generally, the fuel is a mixture of natural oils and petroleum-based diesel fuel. It oftentimes uses two to five percent of petroleum-based diesel. Biodiesel curbs foreign oil dependence and at the same time it reduces carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, particulates and sulfur dioxide that pose as a great hazard to the environment.

Another renewable fuel is ethanol and this is derived from plant sources. The fuel is usually made from corn, sugar cane and saw grasses however it could be derived from other crops as well. The most common ethanol blend is the E85 which is composed of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. However, there are vehicles these days that are designed to run on 100 percent ethanol. According to statistics there are about two million 'flex-fuel' vehicles on the road that can run on ethanol.

Benefits of ethanol include extremely low emissions output because of its high oxygen content that make it emit no more than vapors.

Other Fuels
Hydrogen, propane, methanol, and compressed natural gas are also some of the fuels that complement gasoline engines. These fuel applications are suited for some purposes that include but not limited to warehouse or closed-space operation and fleet usage.

Another technology is turbocharging. It increases thermal efficiency hence delivering more power from less displacement. Volkswagen, for one, delivers an impressive power output from its 1.4 liter engine by utilizing turbocharger and supercharger.

Fuel cell technology radiates incredible appeal. These fuels are environmentally clean having water vapor as its by-product. Audi, BMW, Daihatsu, Fiat, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi, Peugeot, Suzuki, Toyota and Volkswagen are some of brands that currently use fuel cell technology in their products.

Hybrids, a segment dominated by Toyota and Honda, are also hot items at the present milieu. They offer high fuel mileage, quiet operation and lower overall emissions.