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Fossil engines and cars

The residues from the combustion process that takes place in the engine are discharged through the exhaust. Nowadays there are strict requirements for this. Combustion engines powered by ethanol, methanol, biomass and similar technologies have recently become more and more popular. Some are at an experimental stage, but most have been available for some time and are sometimes even cheaper to buy and/or use.

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Electric motor

Electric motor in the Tesla model S
File:Need makes resourceful 3 ways to drive a car without benzine.ogv
Inventive transport solutions to the fuel scarcity during the oil crisis of 1973

The Toyota Prius, a hybrid car
Increasingly stringent environmental legislation, technological development, market demand and a longer-term strategy mean that car manufacturers are switching to electromotors.

Another development is the use of two engines, so-called hybrids. The car will then have a combustion engine for out-of-town use and an electric motor for in-town use. Examples are the Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius. The Honda Civic is also available in a hybrid version. In 2005, Lexus launched the first hybrid SUV on the Dutch market, the Lexus RX400h.

Steam engine
In the beginning, cars were equipped with a steam engine. In 2007 it was announced that they had succeeded in having a car run on compressed air, the Air Car.

The first traffic victim was Mary Ward. She lost her life on 31 August 1869 when she was thrown out of a steam car and ended up under the wheels. The first pedestrian to die of a car accident was Bridget Driscoll, who lost her life on 17 August 1896 in London. In the past, no attention was paid to safety. Cars had to be reliable and robust. It did happen that after a collision a car only had paintwork damage, but the occupants were dead. In the 1960s, under pressure from Ralph Nader and a number of activists, the first safety legislation was adopted.

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Today, 50 million people are injured every year and more than 1 million people die as a result of car accidents. In the Netherlands, 800 people die on the roads every year; in Belgium, 1,200 people die on the roads. In order to reduce the number of fatalities, the government promotes road safety by means of information, legislation and regulations and a policy of fines. Cars themselves are equipped with both active and passive safety features. On the basis of EuroNCAP’s crash tests, European cars are assessed for their safety. The highest EuroNCAP rating ever was awarded to the Alfa Romeo Giulia with a score of 98% (overall score: 5 stars).

Self-propelled car
In 2017, the Dutch government approved the Experimental Act on Self-propelled Vehicles, which makes it possible to carry out experiments on self-propelled vehicles without a driver in the Netherlands. Manufacturers will have more opportunities to test with self-propelled vehicles with a remote driver.

Cars with an internal combustion engine consume (often fossil) fuels and emit harmful gases, including the greenhouse gas CO2. Fossil fuels are finite (i.e. they run out at some point), and greenhouse gases cause global warming. The government is therefore trying to reduce the use of fossil fuels and is promoting the use of cars with lower fuel consumption, for example by introducing energy labels. In the Netherlands, cars that emit less than 110 grams of CO2 per kilometre have been exempt from motor vehicle tax (‘road tax’, a holding tax) and BPM (purchase tax) since 1 January 2010. In order to reduce the burden on the environment, the use of hybrid and fully electric cars is encouraged by the government.

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In addition to BPM and road tax, various excise duties and a high percentage of turnover tax on fuel are also levied. The total tax on fuels in Belgium and the Netherlands amounts to more than half of the selling price. Japan has a similar situation. This is why European and Japanese cars are generally more economical than those from the United States, where the tax burden is much lower.

As a result of the climate agreement concluded tomorrow, from 2030 onwards, no new cars will be sold in the Netherlands that emit greenhouse gases.

Traffic jams
Traffic jams are a major problem throughout the world. Not only is it bad for the environment, it is also bad for the economy and the state of mind (stress, road-rage). Different governments react differently to the problem. Solutions that are offered (temporarily) are the widening of existing roads, the construction of new roads, the encouragement of the use of public transport, the encouragement of car-pooling and making the use of the car more expensive.