There are many factors that go into the thought process of buying a car. Many people think about looks, power, speed, and handling. But, these are not the only aspects of vehicle performance. As we learn more about the effects of climate change, people are becoming more focused on things like gas mileage, efficiency, and emissions. As a campus it is important that we realize the role of hybrid vehicles in slowing the effects of climate change and how we can participate in creating a cleaner environment.
This article my seem a touch hypocritical considering I drive a gas guzzling truck. But, when they come out with powerful hybrid truck, I’ll gladly get on board. This is not to say I do not support increasing the hybrid presence on campus now. There is no just reason to try and force someone to get a hybrid. The use of alternatively fueled vehicles should be incentivized and encouraged, but not demanded.
After doing some research on NASA‘s website, it can be concluded that while climate change is a naturally occurring phenomenon, humans do have some role in speeding up the process. Large commercial livestock farms, factories and cars are some of the largest man made producers of greenhouse gas. Hybrid and electric cars contribute to mitigating and eliminating the third factor. J.D. Power complements the environmental benefits of the new era of Hybrid vehicles.
One of the most common misconceptions about hybrids is that they always need to be plugged in to some power source in order to charge. This is all but true. Gearheads.org points out that most hybrids utilize a technology called regenerative breaking which allows them to charge their batteries as the vehicle slows and stops – requiring no work from the driver.
The environmental activist group Conserve Energy Future (CEF) list the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing and owning a hybrid.
For a more comprehensive list see the CEF website.
Looking at the information we have about emissions and climate change, it is imperative that our University takes a leading roll in incentivizing and endorsing the use of hybrid vehicles by faculty, staff, and students. While Furman does have charging stations for hybrid cars on campus, they exist only in the southern chapel parking lot. Many people drive hybrids on campus, but the university could do its part in encouraging individuals to drive hybrid and alternative fuel cars. Putting hybrid and electric charging stations in more areas, reserving the closest parking spaces for efficient vehicles, and CLP events are just some examples of how the Furman could increase awareness and make environmentally friendly vehicles more appealing.