Natural Gas Vehicles Are Beating Out Electric Vehicles for Consumers Top Pick

Consumers have been selecting natural gas vehicles over electric vehicles at a rate of two to one. By year end there will be approximately 123,600 natural gas vehicles on our nation’s road as compared to 65,500 electric vehicles. Despite the lack of marketing or fueling infrastructure for natural gas, it is now the first choice among consumers looking to alternative ways to fuel their vehicles.

The drop in natural gas prices has helped fuel the demand; beating out the more heavily marketed and federally funded electric vehicles (EVs). Four years ago President Obama unveiled his vision of 1 million plug-in vehicles on U.S. roads by the 2015 and pumped $5 billion into funding for electric cars. In February the Obama admiration proposed the tax credit for plug-in vehicle be increased from $7,500 to $10,000 and also extend the credit to other alternative vehicles like natural gas.

In response to the higher demand from motorist, Honda began showing it’s Honda Civic GX natural gas vehicle in car showrooms across the country, where previously it had only been marketed as a fleet vehicle. It is currently the only NGV sedan on the market. Honda says the marketing is paying off big for them, and sales of the vehicle are continuing to break new monthly highs. Although the choices are few for compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, it should be pointed out that conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles can be retrofitted for CNG. If natural gas is available at your home you can install a pumping station inside your garage.

CNG is safe or at least safer than gasoline, Although CNG is flammable, it has a narrow flammability range, and if released by accident it quickly disperses making it less likely to ignite than gasoline. CNG is also non-toxic, it dissipates when released and will not leak to contaminate soil and water supplies.

The natural gas used in vehicles is classified into two types compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas(LNG). According to fueleconomy.gov “eighty-seven percent of the natural gas consumed in the U.S.is also produced here; which greatly reduces are dependency on foreign imports. It is 60%-90% less polluting than traditional fuels. With 30%-40% less greenhouse gas emissions and is less expensive than gasoline. At the present time the main disadvantages of CNG vehicles is the lack of facilities available to pump the gas, fewer miles to the tank and few choice available by auto makers.

All gas vehicles depend on fossil fuel. The natural gas obtained from drilling is a fossil fuel and while no fossil fuels are considered to be renewable resources because of the millions of years needed for the earth to produce them; natural gas is primarily methane and methane gas can be produced as a renewable resource. Methane gas is currently being collected from landfills and produced from rotting vegetation and animal manure.

CNG vehicles are cheaper to operate than conventional vehicles and burn cleaner than gasoline vehicles. Electric vehicles running on electricity alone put out “0” emissions at the tail pipe, but the electricity providing that power is generated at power plants running off fossil fuels. The U.S. Department of Energy states that “PHEVs (plugin hybrid electric vehicles) and EVs (electric vehicles) typically have a well-to-wheel emissions advantage over similar conventional vehicles running on gasoline or diesel.

However, in communities that depend heavily on conventional fossil fuels for their electricity generation, PEVs (Plugin Electric Vehicles) may not demonstrate a well-to-wheel emissions benefit.”

The switch from diesel to CNG is the larger trend for cities and municipalities across the country. The U.S Department of Transportation provides grants for upgrading mass transit and many cities are already using those dollars to advance their fleets over to CNG vehicles.

The future for NGV remains uncertain; although the advantages seem clear, reduce dependency on foreign oil, cleaner energy for the environment, lower cost to fuel. The largest drawback is the lack of infrastructure for refueling. As government agencies along with private fleet owned vehicles begin to convert vehicles from gasoline to NGV the private sector will also begin to benefit from their expansion. Improvements in refueling technology and engine performance will also soon follow. It will likely be the consumers, who ultimately decide our next energy of choice.

Electric Vehicle Kits – Build Your Own Electric Car

With rising fuel costs, more and more people and are looking for alternatives. One such alternative that is gaining popularity, especially with the do-it yourself types, are the electric vehicle kits. Anyone familiar with automobiles can now use these kits to convert traditional gas powered vehicles to one powered by electric current.

However, converting a traditional Gas powered vehicle into an electric vehicle can be a very daunting task. Only those who are the very mechanically minded should try this. To convert the vehicle will require extensive modifications to nearly all-mechanical parts of the car. Everything from the engine to the radiator, heater and air-conditioning, to the gauges on the panel. On top of that, the electric cars have to be recharged on a regular basis, which means having to purchase or use the services of recharging station. Solar power could be another potential source of power for the electric vehicle.

Can any car be converted into an electric vehicle?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Not all cars can be converted into an electric vehicle. However, and the most common electric vehicle kit seems to be the Chevy S-10 pick up kit. For examples to follow just do a search online for Chevy S-10 pickup Electric conversions.
Other cars that are good candidates for conversion are the Chevy Geo, especially from 1989 to 1999. These cars are good potential candidates for an electric vehicle kit conversion. Cars similar to the Chevy Geo Metro, such as the Chevy Sprint, Pontiac Firefly and the Suzuki Swift are also ideal for conversions too.

Are there downsides to using an electric vehicle kit?

Going back a few years, many people associated electric powered vehicles with slowness and a lack of power. But as usual, thanks to technology, significant advances in the electric vehicle have changed all that. With these electric vehicle kits some cars can reach top speeds of between 70 and 75 mph. nonetheless, converting to electric power still has its drawbacks.

The biggest drawback it is of course the need for recharging the batteries. As an example, the Chevy Geo Metro kit must be recharged every 20 to 40 miles, depending on driving habits and battery quality. For city driving, this would be ideal. However, for lengthy commutes on the highway, this would not be ideal.

The Chevy S-10 with an electric vehicle kit installed will run a little longer on a single charge. On a single charge, the S-10 should last between 40 and 60 miles. Again this depends upon the driving habits as well as the size and quality of batteries. Some S-10 models can be equipped with solar powered panels which would in reduced in the need for charging, at least when driving during daylight hours.

Converting vehicles with electric vehicle kits is not a cheap affair. Most conversion kits seem to cost between $8000 to $10,000. And this does not even include professional installation as well as the cost of the batteries, not to mention access to or the purchase of a charging station.

Quite frankly, with the cost involved of using an electric vehicle kit, it probably wouldn’t be very practical for the average consumer, especially if they do a lot of highway driving. However, that being said, it probably would be ideal for a back yard mechanic who loves to tinker with cars and has a few bucks to throw around and wants to impress his beer-drinking buddies.

Top 10 Must Have Auto Accessories

Personalizing the appearance and improving the driving experience of your auto is one of the great pleasures of owning your own car, SUV or truck. There are so many different auto accessories out there on the market it can be tricky to narrow down which ones you might want to consider getting to improve your vehicle. The following 10 accessories are those which we consider really are the “must haves”:

1) Floor Mats – It really is pretty ridiculous that an item so basic as a floor mat is an optional extra on many new cars. If you want to protect the interior of your automobile and prolong the life of the cabin’s upholstery then floor mats are an essential and worthwhile investment. Floor mats can be easily picked up from just about every auto accessory shop and even in many supermarkets.

2) Auto Covers – The last thing you want to happen to your pride and joy is for its shiny paintwork to get damaged by the elements, falling objects, or even bird droppings. By using an auto cover you can give your vehicle the protection it needs from the harsh summer sun, heavy rain and hail, corrosive bird droppings and destructive objects falling from trees or blown by the wind.

3) Cargo Liners – Like floor mats for the passenger compartment of vehicles, cargo liners are also a great accessory for keeping the trunk clean and tidy. If you are often putting dirty boots or tools in the trunk of your vehicle, for example, then a cargo liner will keep all that filth off the lining material as well as protecting against any scratches and dents.

4) Brake Dust Shields – With modern vehicles getting more and more powerful and having larger brakes, the amount of brake dust produced is increasing. Using brake dust shields on the insides of your wheels helps to prevent the dust from gathering on your shiny alloy rims, making keeping your auto clean much easier.

5) Car Bras – Bumpers on modern cars are often made from plastic which might look good but isn’t able to put off with much abuse caused by stones, grit and other street debris. A car bra is a specially made protector that wraps around the bumper to shield against flying stones, insects and other debris that can cause damaging stone chips and dents.

6) Fender Flares – Travelling at speed on country roads or rarely used streets can lead to gravel, rocks and other objects flinging up and striking the paintwork of your vehicle. By fitting fender flares you can greatly reduce the amount of debris that can reach your auto’s exterior. For most cars it is possible to find fender flares that match the original color and finish.

7) Mud Flaps – Further protection can be provided by the use of mud flaps which also prevent the dirty water spray containing all manner of pollutants and oil from reaching your car’s paintwork.

8) Heated Seats – Driving a car throughout the long winter months without heated seats can be somewhat torturous, especially when first entering the vehicle. Heated seats can make a journey in cold weather 10 times more pleasurable.

9) iPod / iPhone / MP3 Docks – Tape cassettes and even now CDs are getting very long in the tooth. Why not make use of your iPod or MP3 player in your vehicle and invest in a dock that allows you to listen to your tunes through your car speakers. Many docks also double up as a hand-free system; much safer than talking on the phone normally.

10) Bug Shields – These are an absolute must have, particularly in the South where insects are even more prevalent. A good bug shield made specifically for your model of car or truck can do wonders in limiting the amount of insects and other debris hitting your windshield and hood. Bug shields not only help to keep your car clean, but are also a useful safety accessory helping to maintain good visibility.