In October of 1908 Henry Ford introduced the legendary Model T, starting the revolution that put the world on wheels. Here we are 100 years later and the internal combustion engine is still our primary means of transportation.
The Model T ran on ethanol and got 25 MPG. The internal combustion engine has not improved much over the last 100 years; Other than becoming more dependent on oil.
Now we (America) are importing oil to feed our needs. Importing it from, well anywhere we can, friend and foe. This means we are funding both sides of the war on terror.
Some of the pollution from those 1908 Model Ts is still in the atmosphere today, 100 years later. See the atmospheric lifetime of greenhouse gases.
Photo By Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press
In 2006, 244.2 million vehicles were estimated to be on the road. This is with only 13% of the world's population owning a car. Millions of cars will be added to the World's roads in the next few years. If they are fossil fuel burning internal combustion powered, we are in trouble. This will increase crude demand, drive up oil prices, degrade air quality & increase global warming.
So what can we do?
Many of the cars that these Model Ts displaced were electric cars. Yes, there were electric cars on the road in the early 1900s. There were even plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). Unfortunately, they were nearly impossible to operate with 12-15 levers and pedals, you needed to be a skilled vehicle engineer just to operate them. Today however, anyone can operate a PHEV. The intricacies of those dozen levers is now controlled by an on-board computer. The driver needs only to step on the gas pedal, scratch that, accelerator pedal and the computer determines which energy storage can best propel the vehicle.
If you cannot wait for the PHEVs that Detroit and others are promising in 2010, you can have a 2004-2009 Prius, Escape, or Mariner converted to a PHEV today. Check out Hybrids Plus, Hymotion, CalCars, Plug-in Supply & many other places that can get you powered by American, or otherwise locally generated, electrons.
Model T 100 years old link
25 MPG Model T link