Alternative fuels best option for students
President Bush told the American public in his 2007 State of the Union Address, “It is in our vital interest to diversify America’s energy supply.” Naturally, this leads to the question of how best to go about doing this.
The easiest and seemingly most practical way is to look at alternative energy sources, moving away from a dependence on foreign oil.
By doing this, students and the average buyer are able to perform a cost-benefit analysis on their vehicle of choice, therefore making the best choice after considering all the options.
One way to end an addiction is to decrease use of the drug. If Americans drive less, or get better gas mileage, they would use less gasoline, thus breaking the addiction.
According to the April 2007 issue of “Consumer Reports,” Honda Fit Sport and Toyota Yaris Sport, both manual transmissions, each get 34 miles per gallon, which is the highest of any non-hybrid vehicle.
Ken Vance Car City Sales and Leasing Consultant Kevin Klinkhammer said the Honda Civic gets 40 mpg on the highway.
These vehicles come with a high price tag.
The Honda Fit Sport and Toyota Yaris Sport each cost about $16,000, so cost plays a factor in the purchase of a car. In addition, the top new hybrid, the Toyota Prius is priced at $23,000. Because these cars are so highly priced, it could be difficult for students to consider them as options during or after college.
Since cost is important and many new fuel-efficient cars cost as much as one year’s tuition at UW-Eau Claire, alternative fuel sources are another way to make a difference.
Klinkhammer said there is a financing program available through Honda for students.
An understanding of the different types of fuels available is key to making an informed decision on the purchase of a car.
There are currently a variety of alternative fuels available to automakers and drivers. Ethanol, biodiesel, methanol and a combination of regular gasoline combined with an electric engine are all options for the average buyer to pursue.
The New York Times reported March 9 that President Bush signed a new ethanol agreement with Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
In addition, automakers are taking notice. The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 12 that Ford is the first automaker in the world to offer a “hybrid electric powered SUV, the Ford Escape.”
With companies understanding their consumers, the prices on flex fuel and green cars should drop.
Klinkhammer said there is no waiting list for Honda Civic or Accord hybrids and right now there is a $2,100 tax rebate for the new Civic.
By changing the way we look at our dependence on oil, students are able to cause change.
By not giving so much power to foreign oil states, as well as powerful oil companies and conglomerates, students can be heard.
America will be able to invest time and money into researching and implementing a greater public mass transit system. By doing these two things, students can can reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.
Bush understands how important our addiction to oil is. Students, the consumers, understand how important it is to look to the future.
Now automakers, the producers, are taking the necessary steps to meet the consumer’s wishes.
Klinkhammer said Volkswagen currently has the turbo diesel available, and Honda is building its first diesel/hybrid engine.
By shifting the market, the American oil addiction can be broken, as students begin to use less devastating drugs, such as ethanol and hybrid technology. The only question remaining to be answered is this: what does the future hold?