Hydrocarbons Polluting the Air We Breathe

Hydrocarbons polluting the air we breathe 

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Even with the large volume of hybrids and electric vehicles being driven around the U.S. every day, there are still millions and millions of  hydrocarbon-based gasoline and diesel vehicles adding to our poor air quality.  For example, these types of vehicles are reportedly responsible for about 60% of the air pollution in most major cities.

What causes these vehicles to create harmful emissions and polluting exhaust?  It’s all in the combustion.  The incomplete combustion of these fuels can cause the hydrocarbons to react with nitrogen oxides (often produced from high temperatures and oxygen in excess of the amount needed to burn the fuel).  Then when the resultant gases hit the sunlight, they form ground-level ozone aka smog.

Now the volume of hydrocarbon-based fuels being used along with the efficiency, or inefficiency, of the cars’ engines will determine the amount of ground-level ozone/smog being produced.   If you have ever been in a congested city you know how heavy the air can seem.  That’s mostly ozone.  Ozone is a very potent irritant and can not only cause eye or throat irritations, but potentially serious lung damage or respiratory trouble.

So what can be done?  Everyone could go and trade their existing vehicles in for electric or hybrid vehicles, but that’s probably not a very workable solution.  Besides where would all the old vehicles go?  We already know they are having trouble disposing of the “Cash for Clunkers” vehicles. 

A simple solution is to improve the combustion of hydrocarbon-based gasoline and diesel fuels.   How do you do that?  Well, a few factors are key: First you should ensure you keep your engine clean and tune up your car regularly.  Built-up and unburned fuel can clog your engine and hinder future combustion.  Second you should use a proven fuel additive that will help un-bundle the hydrocarbon molecules, allowing oxygen easier access and thus producing a more complete burn.

I know this isn’t the end-all solution, but steps like this are something each person and/or company can do in order to ensure the vehicle(s) they are driving burn the hydrocarbons more completely.  Doing so will lower the volume of harmful emissions being produced and clean up the air we breathe.         

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