The Green Driver's Dilemma: Choosing an Environmentally Friendly Car

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Environmental Sciences | Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Derek Larson, Environmental Studies


The current U.S. automotive fleet is composed largely of inefficient, polluting, gasoline powered vehicles. Factors such as increasing gas prices, anxiety regarding energy security, and environmental concerns have combined to make efficiency an important factor for new car buyers. However, no comprehensive buyer's guides currently exist to consider such factors as which technology is appropriate for each person's different needs and what criteria should be weighed most heavily. This paper attempts to fill that void. It assembles the five most accessible and economical green car technologies, explains and compares them, and creates a rubric based on their strengths and weaknesses to help buyers choose the most efficient car for their given driving profile. It also evaluates the future of several high-efficiency automotive technologies that are not currently viable options for consumers.