Have you been to the gas station this week? Considering that we live in a very mobile society, it's probably safe to assume that you have. While pumping gas, you've undoubtedly noticed how much the price of gas has soared in recent years. Gasoline, which has been the main source of fuel for the history of cars, is becoming more and more expensive and impractical (especially from an environmental standpoint). These factors are leading car manufacturers to develop cars fueled by alternative energies. Two hybrid cars took to the road in 2000, and in three or four years fuel-cell-powered cars will roll onto the world's highways.
Photo courtesy Zero Pollution Motors
The e.Volution's compressed-air engine is expected to make it an ideal car for highly polluted cities.
While gasoline prices in the United States have not yet reached their highest point ($2.66/gallon in 1980), they have climbed steeply in the past two years. In 1999, prices rose by 30 percent, and from December 1999 to October 2000, prices rose an additional 20 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Europe, prices are even higher, costing more than $4 in countries like England and the Netherlands. But cost is not the only problem with using gasoline as our primary fuel. It is also damaging to the environment, and since it is not a renewable resource, it will eventually run out.
One possible alternative is the air-powered car. There are at least two ongoing projects that are developing a new type of car that will run on compressed air. In this edition of How Stuff Will Work, you will learn about the technology behind two types of compressed-air cars being developed and how they may replace your gas guzzler by the end of the decade!