Americans rely heavily on their vehicles, as the average American drives 29.2 miles every day. But many drivers are reluctant to substitute their conventional gasoline-powered vehicle for one that’s more eco-friendly. That might soon change, albeit in a more sluggish way than some other nations, due to environmental regulations, increased reliability, and some creative uses for caffeine.
In a recent report published in Consumer Reports, it was revealed that incorporating new technology and fuel efficiency efforts into traditional cars is actually making them a lot less reliable. In the magazine’s survey of 640,000 vehicles, the all-new vehicles or models with newly updated tech were more likely than older models to have a “wonky engine, jerky transmission, or high-tech features that fail outright.” Electric cars, on the other hand, fared quite a bit better, largely because many of these electric models don’t use the same mechanical systems conventional cars do.
So if they’re more reliable, why are Americans so resistant to buy them? Comparatively, the U.S. is behind the curve (or curb, as the case may be) in terms of exploring alternative fuels. Parisian officials recently announced the city will be phasing out the use of all fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2030, with the entire country promising to do away with non-electric cars by 2040. And her Majesty, the Queen of England, just added more electric-powered vehicles to her already established eco-friendly fleet. But according to a study from April 2017, 70% of Millennials (presumably, American Millennials) don’t want an electric vehicle. Even though they’re actually less expensive to run and wouldn’t pollute the planet, it looks like the U.S. has some catching up to do.
That could be because amenities have yet to catch up with the electric vehicle industry. Charging stations are few and far between and charging takes much longer than filling up a gas tank, making it less convenient to go electric. The ever-innovative Amazon may have just come up with a solution, as the company recently patented a drone that would charge an electric vehicle as you’re driving it. The plans seem like something out of a sci-fi movie, but so do self-driving cars.
Maybe Millennials would be more likely to embrace alternative fuels if their car required something they often use for their own energy supply: namely, coffee. Statistics show that Americans consume an average of 1.64 cups of coffee per day, but soon, our cars might need a java boost, too. Researchers at Lancaster University in the U.K. have managed to simplify the process of extracting oil from coffee grounds so that it takes only 10 minutes. The new process is also much more eco-friendly than extracting oils from corn or soybeans because it doesn’t require the use of harmful chemicals. Experts say that with this new all-in-one method, they could produce 720,000 metric tons per year. In the near future, coffee and cars could be even more of a match made in heaven than they already are (no comedians necessary).
Maybe one day, fueling up your car will be as easy as contacting a drone or emptying the remnants of your morning cup of coffee into your vehicle. For now though, the onus is on the individual to make eco-conscious decisions when it comes to their transportation, even when it isn’t always easy.