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Green Automotive Resources

Go Green with Hybrid Tips & Fuel of the Future

by Larry Blumberg, Gina Cunningham and Jim Philion,
Co-Founders of the Coronado Speed Festival

As the United States economy seems to sputter into a recession, and Americans are counting their dollars carefully, cars that use alternative fuels, such as hybrids, are rising in popularity. Crude oil recently hit a record high above $110 per barrel and gasoline pump prices have jumped to a national record of $3.28 per gallon. Many places are seeing $4.00 per gallon already, but most areas are expected to break the four dollar mark at some time this summer. With a recession approaching, consumers are paying close attention to hybrid vehicles in order to save money at the pump. However, the benefits of a hybrid vehicle are more than economical; hybrid cars benefit the environment as well.

What Is A Hybrid Car?

Hydrogen powered vehicle cut in half to show how hydrogen powered cars
Hydrogen powered vehicle cut in half to show how hydrogen powered cars

A hybrid car is basically a normal, fuel-efficient car with two motors – an electric motor and a gasoline powered motor. Hybrids capture the best of both worlds. Electric motors use no energy during idle, they turn off, and use less gas at lower speeds. Gas motors do better at high speeds and can deliver more power for a given motor weight. That means during rush hour and stop and go traffic, the electric motor works great and does not produce any exhaust, reducing smog levels. At higher speeds, the gas motor kicks in and gives that powerful feel that so many car owners desire. The gas efficiency is higher than electric cars — hybrids get 48 to 60 mpg.

The Green Advantage

Hybrid cars offer more than just great fuel economy, they offer many green advantages as well. Even a small increase in the fuel emissions makes a big difference in the overall life of the car. A hybrid cuts emissions by 25 to 35 percent over even the most fuel efficient gas powered models. Although hybrid cars seem smaller, they have proven to be just as safe as non-hybrid vehicles.

Hybrids already get great mileage, but you can save even more by using the same kind of driving habits that give you better mileage in your gasoline-engine car:

• Slow Down! - The aerodynamic drag on the car increases dramatically the faster you drive. For example, the drag force at 70 mph is about double that at 50 mph. So, keeping your speed down can increase your mileage significantly.

• Drive at a constant speed - Each time you speed up the car, you use energy, some of which is wasted when you slow the car down again. By maintaining a constant speed, especially when you are in traffic, you will make the most efficient use of your fuel.

• Avoid abrupt stops - When you stop your car, the electric motor in the hybrid acts like a generator and take some of the energy out of the car while slowing it down. If you give the electric motor more time to slow the vehicle, it can recover more of the energy.

The Hybrid Meets Classic Style

Helping the environment does not necessarily mean that you have to compromise style. Even notorious gas guzzlers such as the Cadillac Escalade and Chevy Tahoe SUVs now come with a hybrid-engine option. There is even talk of a 2009 Hybrid Camaro in the works. Throughout history, the terms "fuel-efficient" and "muscle car" have been mutually exclusive, but the Camaro might be changing that. It looks like the perfect blend of energy efficiency and sleek design is not too far away. Vehicles that blend these once opposite terms could potentially reshape the auto industry. You can learn more about hybrids and how they benefit the environment at events like the Coronado Speed Festival.

Going Green at the Coronado Speed Festival

Coronado, also known as the “Crown City,” is a small island tucked away in the San Diego Bay. The island is only connected to the city of San Diego by the Coronado Bridge, which has become a landmark in the community. For those tourists who prefer different transportation, Coronado is a 15-minute, scenic passenger ferry ride from the heart of San Diego, but only minutes by car.

Jarrod Fowler, of American Idol fame, sang national anthem during the Coronado Speed Festival's
Jarrod Fowler, of American Idol fame, sang national anthem during the Coronado Speed Festival's.

Coronado’s mild year-round climate makes it the ideal vacation destination for any time of the year. However, if you are looking to take a weekend trip to hold you over until the holiday season, consider visiting in September. Not only is the weather at it’s warmest in Coronado, but you will have the chance to experience the 11th annual Coronado Speed Festival — held each Septmeber.

The Coronado Speed Festival is the perfect family getaway. Here, you will have the opportunity to watch some of the world’s most historical machines compete in a weekend of races. At the same time, you can glance into the future and see the newest technologies and upcoming designs from various car manufacturers. The Coronado Speed Festival is committed to “Going Green” by education consumers on the benefits of hydrogen vehicles. Last year, The Coronado Speed Festival partnered with the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP), an organization that is committed to promoting fuel cell vehicle commercialization as a means of moving towards a sustainable energy future, increasing energy efficiency and reducing or eliminating air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Together, the Coronado Speed Festival and CaFCP were able to achieve their common goal of educating consumers on the importance of the hydrogen car. This is an ideal opportunity for a weekend getaway with the family and to experience both the past and the future of automobile technology. For more information about the Coronado Speed Festival, visit Fleet Week San Diego.


Source: California Fuel Cell Partnership