Classification of Various Power Sources for a Car: Petrol, Diesel, and Electricity
Length: 1319 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)
Most people today fill up their car with different qualities of petrol, because that's what the average car takes. They don't usually consider an alternative for the petrol that they load into their cars. Although petrol is widely used, it is not the only source for a car to get its power from; diesel and electricity are alternatives to the general petrol used by most cars. Although different from each other, diesel and electricity are alternatives to the average gasoline received at a gas station. Diesel is a more concentrated type of fuel that is usually used by big automobiles because they require a lot of power in a little amount of time. Electricity is a method that uses the power of batteries to produce a low horsepower but, nevertheless fast automobile. Electric cars are generally created to be soundless and environment friendly. The purpose of this paper is to classify and educate the reader of the different types of fuel available for an automobile to use: petrol, diesel, and electricity. The general petrol, used by most people, is usually the only type of fuel accepted on the average car in the United States today.
The general petrol, more commonly known as gasoline, is the most readily available source of power for one's car today. This is because gasoline is generally cheap and readily available. Gasoline is defined by Poltcor as a "petroleum-derived liquid mixture consisting mostly of aliphatic hydrocarbons and enhanced with aromatic hydrocarbons toluene, benzene or iso-octane to increase octane ratings, primarily used as fuel in internal combustion engines" (Poltcor 3). Most automobiles rely on this type of gasoline today. At gas stations, the general grades available are 87, 89, and 93. Each of the numbers represents the quality of the gasoline, 87 being the lowest, usually named Regular and 93 being the highest, usually named Supreme. Generally, the gas prices in the U.S. are cheaper than overseas. However, the gas price has been rising over past few years because of some issues with the Middle East. Even with this problem in the Middle East increasing the gas price regularly, the U.S. maintains its ranking as one of the cheapest places to get petrol, or gasoline. Although gasoline is cheap, it is demanded of every person to have an automobile and since automobiles rely on gasoline, the gasoline distributors have the advantage that the public is willing to pay high prices for gasoline, if it's the cheapest around.
Diesel is a type of fuel that is similar to the petrol discussed above. Rudolf Diesel was a German engineer that invented the diesel fuel available today (Bolhms 17). In the car engine, there are valves that help compress gasoline. When gasoline is compressed, it releases heat and that heat can be used to do work. When gasoline is compressed in a valve, the fuel injector lights the fuel so that the heat is anticipated and can be easily controlled. However, when diesel is being used, the fuel injector is not as necessary because the fuel comes "pre-charged". This is why diesel powered automobiles are more powerful: they can output a lot more power in a shorter amount of time due to the less time it takes to compress it in an engine. Diesel poses more of a risk than gasoline in automobiles. Gasoline is flammable and, in some cases explodes but, diesel is more sensitive than gasoline, since it is more compressed. This requires that diesel be specially taken care of. Since diesel is more flammable than gasoline, it means that any little disturbance could arouse the fuel inside and, there is a chance it might ignite. If ignited, the diesel fuel tank probably will explode, like a bomb, due to the different conditions it's surrounded in. Diesel, although a powerful source of energy, is not very environmental at all. Diesel pollutes the air with carbon dioxide far more than gasoline and, therefore would speed up the theoretical Greenhouse Effect. Almost the opposite of diesel, electricity can be a valuable source of energy when it comes to cars.
Electricity is probably the least thought of power source for a car, because not many are seen on the streets in the U.S. Even though electricity has its downsides, it's quite environmental and soundless. Electricity is a unique fuel type for the car because it is not a liquid and, it is rechargeable. So technically, an electrical battery doesn't have to be replaced! One great reason to switch to electricity as a power source for one's car is because electricity is far more readily available and easily accessible. Electricity also reduces our dependence on petroleum and opens up a new field to get car energy from. Usually, electricity is found to be more energy-efficient than a petroleum fuel and, doesn't release noxious exhaust fumes, generally almost zero exhaust fumes at all. More and more cars are being made that are supported by electric power. This shows a general movement in the right direction, to help protect our movement. My personal opinion is that electricity should be our main source of energy for a car because, as explained above, it's noiseless, environment friendly, and never needs to be replaced, only recharged.
Although diesel and electricity are different types of fuel that can be used today to substitute for gasoline, they are not widely known for their major drawbacks. Diesel is a powerful source of energy for cars. Although it is very powerful, it is also very risky to be widely used by all people. Diesel is highly more explosive and flammable than regular gasoline so, most people would be afraid to load their cars or other automobile with this. Electricity is also a great source of energy for the car. The problem is that the general battery used in electric cars can be very expensive. It can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $20,000, depending on the quality of the battery. The zero emission policy is an illusion because of the source of the electricity. The electricity used is formed by nuclear fission. Nuclear fission produces a lot of toxic waste but, doesn't release it into the atmosphere. The "time between charges and charging time greatly impedes the use of electric cars" (Bernham 61).
Although gasoline is more widely known, it is not always the best type of power source for a car. Diesel and electricity can also be used as alternatives but, each one has their drawbacks. Diesel is not as safe as gasoline and gasoline is quite flammable. Electricity takes too long to charge and lasts only a little while. If the battery power is increased, then the electric car will be more widespread and probably used more in society. Gasoline might be cheaper and a little less quality than diesel but, it is more readily available and safe. Gasoline might not be as environment friendly as electricity but, it can last a much longer time. Because of these reasons, gasoline is the main power source for cars today but, is not the only one. Different automobiles depend on different fuels, as they require different levels of energy. Henry Ford once said "Wealth, like happiness, is never attained when sought after directly. It comes as a by-product of providing a useful service" (Coutlin 60).
Bernham, Carl. Electric Cars in Society. Fort Worth: Mc-Graw Hill, 1999. 61.
Bolhms, Robert. Diesel: the Supercharged Gasoline. Raleigh, North Carolina: Duke, 2002.
Coutlin, Benjamin. Henry Ford: a Biography. Boston: Boston Company, 1995. 12.
Poltcor, David. Gasoline Today. Dallas: Prentice Hall, 2001. 3.