Converting to alternative fuels
Of course it sounds like a good idea to convert to alternative fuels. Alternative fuels are better for the environment, easier to access or create, and some fuels can pro-long the life of your automobiles. But there are often costs to be considered while making changes. Regardless of how good alternative fuels are, you need to know if converting your current fleet to alternative fuels is going to be worth the investment.
Converting to alternative fuels combines personal opinion, financial resources, and feasibility. There are advantages and disadvantages to the decision of converting to alternative fuels. These differences vary from business to business and person to person. As you try to make the most informed decision possible, consider the following examples of advantages and disadvantages to converting to alternative fuels:
Converting existing vehicles to operate on alternative fuels is very costly and in some cases impossible. The EPA has very strict regulations that make it difficult to make changes to a car made to operate on gasoline. Because the car's fuel system needs to be completely free from all traces of previous fuel type, this system often needs to be completely replaced. Replacing the parts of your entire fleet can get extremely costly. It is also difficult to find exact parts, re-assemble those parts and to have these parts maintained. Even for companies who decided that converting their current fleet to operate on alternative fuels is a good idea, the EPA is very picky in what automobiles they choose to certify. Thus it is easy to understand that although there are many advantages to having cars that operate on alternative fuels, it is simply an impossible task for many companies with already established fleets.
Buying new vehicles that are made to operate on alternative fuels is a much more cost effective way to go. It is much less expensive to buy a car made to operate on alternative fuels, than it is to convert a car to be able to run on something other than gasoline.
There are environmentalists groups out there who will help you financially if you decide to turn over your old cars and replace them with more energy efficient ones. The Alternative Fuels Conversion Program (AFCP) for example is designed to assist operators and manufacturers of heavy commercial vehicles and buses to convert to natural gas or Liquefied Petroleum Gas. This group provides grants of up to half of the costs to fleet owners/managers to purchase LPG or NG vehicles and to convert their existing fleet of cars.
Aside from obvious advantages to the environment, alternative fuels can actually extend the operation life of your vehicles. Operating a car that runs on cleaner fuel will slow down the process of corrosion and build-up. When the car operates more efficiently, you as the vehicle owner do not need to worry about certain maintenance problems as often and you save more money. This example also illustrates how cars that operate on alternative fuels should be considered as an investment into the well being of not only the environment, but the buyer as well.
Public relations and advertising of your more fuel efficient and cleaner greener fleet can have a positive effect on the image of your company. If you own a transportation business you are probably very much aware of the environmental activists groups that do not think fondly of you. Imagine how much possible publicity you can achieve when you make the investment of converting to alternative fuels. Of course, aside from the advantages from a business standpoint, we know that some of the biggest threats (as far as automobiles are concerned) are the vehicles in the transportation industry and making these fleet cars run on cleaner fuels is advantageous to us all.
Converting to alternative fuels is not only advantageous to the health conscious consumer, the environmental activists, and the automobile industry. Farmers who grow corn needed for the alternative fuel Ethanol are also benefiting. United States farmers are responding to the increase demand to produce more corn for the growing ethanol industry. Corn is even replacing soybeans, wheat and cotton. Ethanol production is expected to double as new corn crops are being planted and turned over to the fuel industry. That translates into about 6 billion more gallons to be produced than last year.
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