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Should cars be more efficient - Essay Example

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Discussion: Should cars be more efficient? Your Name and Number Submission date Introduction The global sales volume of new passenger cars reached 58.7 million units in 2010 an increase of 11.4% over 2009, and is expected to increase by 3% in 2011 (Volkswagen, 2011)…
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Should cars be more efficient
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Download file to see previous pages The case for making the cars more efficient finds its roots in two of the larger global issues – modern world’s dependence on depleting fossil fuels, and the impact of emissions on global climate. The proponents of making cars more efficient stress on the impact of cars on these two factors, and the opponents base their opinion on the huge investments needed to do so, and behavioral aspect of technology improvements. While both arguments seem to be strong, in the larger interest of sustainable development, the case for making the cars more efficient definitely seems to have an edge, on the face of it. This paper evaluates the two sides of the argument - whether (or not) cars must be made more efficient. Arguments “For” making cars more efficient The proponents for making cars more efficient base their arguments on three main pillars – decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and helping climate control, and savings for the consumer and the government. Below each of these pillars are discussed in detail. Decreasing dependence on fossil fuels: The global oil reserves stand at 1.33 trillion barrels and the current global consumption rate is 84 million barrels per day (Rogers, 2010). Accordingly, the current oil reserves are expected to last no more than 44 years. This clearly means that we need to work today to ensure that our dependence on oil can be gradually faded away. Amongst the uses to which oil is put, Gasoline accounts for nearly 45% of all oil use – and this is mainly for transportation purpose. According to McKinsey (2007), the road transport sector is the largest oil consuming sector globally and consumes nearly 32 million barrels of oil per day. Within the road transport sector, light vehicles (cars) were responsible for 10 million barrels of oil use per day. Another output from the McKinney study was to compare the oil demand due to different fuel efficiency of cars in Europe and US. Generally, cars sold in Europe are more fuel efficient than those in the US as the US customers prefer larger vehicles. It was found that the lower fuel economy of cars in the US was responsible for 37% extra demand for oil in the US. This means that if the cars in US were to be as fuel efficient as those in Europe, the demand for oil in the US could go down by 37%. Further, the study estimates that without improvements in fuel efficiency, this gap is expected to increase to 42% by the end of 2020. Therefore, the onus of reducing the global dependence on oil is largely on transportation sector and specifically on cars - it is a natural obligation for the transportation sector to reduce the consumption of oil. Therefore, cars must be made more fuel efficient so that we can reduce our dependence on these depleting resources and make them last longer than they would at current rate. Reducing GHG emissions and climate control: Estimates suggest that the transport sector is responsible for 27.3% of global energy demand. Table 1 shows the details of energy demand per sector. Although it is below other sectors by pure numbers, the reality is however slightly different. In the other sectors, power transmission losses (which are due to production constraints) get added due to which their weight appears to be more. Therefore, from a pure demand perspective, the transport sector is a significant silo for global energy dem ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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