New Car Technology Requires Trade-offs
Cars allow people to be more mobile. Because of them, we can live far away from where we go to school, work, and from many of the places we go to have fun. Yet, for all the good things cars bring, there are also many costs. Buying gasoline to power our cars can be very expensive. And cars themselves are so expensive that they are out of reach for many of the worldâ€™s poorer people. Cars also emit pollutants, like carbon dioxide, which contribute to global warming. Car companies have been focusing on both of these problems, by making cars cheaper and cleaner.
Tata Motors is a company that makes cars. It is in the Asian country of India. A few years ago they introduced a car called the Nano. Today it is the worldâ€™s cheapest car. It only costs 100,000 rupees. Thatâ€™s a little less than $2,000. Most other cars can cost over $10,000 on average! The company hopes its low price will allow some of Indiaâ€™s poorer citizens to afford a car.
Not only is it cheap to buy, but the Nano is cheap to fill up. The car gets over 55 miles to the gallon. This means it is fuel efficient. Some of the most fuel efficient cars in the United States only get around 35 miles to the gallon. Even so, there are unseen costs. By making a car that millions of new drivers can afford, many fear that it could harm air quality by increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. More cars means more smoke and exhaust.
Despite these concerns, Tata Motors Companies has seen success with the Nano. It has sold well in India, and the company has plans to export the car to other developing countries around the world. Other car companies around the world are following Tataâ€™s lead. They too are trying to find a way to balance their need for profits with new technologies to make cleaner, cheaper cars. Buyers must weigh the costs and benefits of different options when selecting their next car.
Learn more about the Nano at the Tata Nano Web site. To learn more about Teslaâ€™s new electric cars visit their Web site. To learn more about alternative fuel sources visit the World Energy Councilâ€™s Web site on fuel cells or look at the Department of Energyâ€™s fact sheet on Flexible Fuel Vehicles.
TLX News Journal: Civics Activity
Come up with your own â€śgreenâ€ť car design. Draw a model of your environmentally friendly car in your TLX News Journal. Be creative! Maybe your car is powered by recycled trash? Or maybe itâ€™s powered by old batteries? Be sure to show how your car is green in your drawing.