1990-10-01

The Passenger Car and the Greenhouse Effect 902099

Concern is mounting over the possibility of global warming from the greenhouse effect. Carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuel is a major greenhouse gas, and automobile exhaust is one of its contributors. The only way to decrease carbon dioxide emissions from a car consuming carbonaceous fuel is to decrease its fuel consumption. The best alternative fossil fuels offer a carbon dioxide reduction of about 20%. Without introducing any new greenhouse-gas controls, it is projected that the total greenhouse-gas contribution of the average car will be halved from recent levels just through fleet turnover and already planned elimination of the current air-conditioning refrigerant. If global warming develops into a serious problem, cars can be operated without fossil fuel. Leading options include battery-electric cars using nuclear power and engine-propelled cars burning biomass-derived alcohol or hydrogen extracted from water with solar cells or nuclear power.

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