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Top 10 Most Fuel Efficient Cars

Gas prices may fluctuate from day to day and week to week, but they always seem to increase year after year. That makes fuel economy a very important factor when considering buying a new car. Many consumers are realizing the usefulness of considering the most fuel efficient cars available now in their car search. Before you invest your hard earned cash on a car, consider these 10 fuel-saving options.

Most Fuel Efficient Cars FAQ

1. What is a Fuel Efficient Car?

2. How Do Hybrid and Electric Cars Work?

3. Where Can You Buy Cars?

How We Reviewed

The following products were reviewed based on the following parameters: Features, Pros & Cons, Price, Where to Buy, and Warranty. We went to many sources to gather and compare this information.

The lowest base price of the lowest end model that we reviewed was $16,975, which was the Chevy Cruze. The highest base price was for the Toyota Avalon Hybrid at $42,800. It is like comparing apples to oranges here because the Chevy Cruze is a compact sedan with minimal standard features and the Toyota Avalon is a large sedan with many standard features.

Overall Price Range of These Cars

What We Reviewed

  • Toyota Prius 3
  • Hyundai Ioniq Blue
  • Toyota Prius Prime
  • Honda Accord Hybrid
  • Toyota Camry Hybrid LE
  • Honda Clarity PHEV
  • Kia Niro FE
  • Toyota Avalon Hybrid
  • Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
  • Chevy Cruze

comparison table

Name

IMage

MSRP

Where to Buy?

TOYOTA PRIUS 3

TOYOTA PRIUS 3

$23,475-$30,565

Hyundai Ioniq Blue

Hyundai Ioniq Blue

$22,200-$27,550

Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota Prius Prime

27,100-$33,100

Honda Accord Hybrid

HONDA ACCORD HYBRID

$23,570-$35,800

Toyota Camry Hybrid LE

Toyota Camry Hybrid LE

23,495-$34,950

Honda Clarity PHEV

Honda Clarity PHEV

$33,400-36,600

Kia Niro FE

Kia Niro FE

$23,340-$32,000

Toyota Avalon Hybrid

Toyota Avalon Hybrid

$35,500-$42,800

Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

$21,680-$31,020

Chevy Cruze

Chevy Cruze

$16,975-$25,920

Toyota Prius 3

TOYOTA PRIUS 3

Image Via Toyota.com

Features

Every Prius model is equipped with Toyota Safety Sense™, an advanced suite of safety technologies to help you drive with confidence. It has a comfortable modern seat design and a nice multimedia display. The suspension, body rigidity, and aerodynamics of Prius provide a smooth ride.

The Toyota Prius has been one of the most fuel efficient cars available for quite some time. It was an early entry into the market, with limited sales in the year 2000. The latest generation Prius has been improved greatly since the last generation. The Prius has always been shown to be efficient and has low operating costs. There are many different models of the Prius, including a version that offers a plug-in combination (the Toyota Prius Prime, discussed below). This particular review is of the Toyota Prius 3.

Pros

  • Comfortable handling
  • Comfortable ride
  • Straightforward touch-screen infotainment system
  • Colorful digital gauge with lots of fuel-economy information
  • Standard forward-collision warning and automatic braking
  • Excellent fuel efficiency

Cons

  • Seats have mediocre support
  • Low stance can make it a challenge to get in and out of the vehicle
  • Noticeable tire noise

Price

The 2019 Base Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $23,475-$30,565.
 

Where to Buy

Find information about where to buy this vehicle at toyota.com

Interior

The Prius has a standard 4.2-inch color dual Multi-Information Display with customizable screens. The Prius has a comfortable, smart seat design with front bucket seats. The driver’s seat has many adjustment settings with power lumbar support. You can control the audio, display, and hands-free calling from the steering wheel. 60/40 split fold-down rear seats maximize cargo space.

Performance & Fuel Efficiency

The Prius has an aerodynamic exterior which allows it to smooth airflow, thus maximizing fuel efficiency. This also provides a smooth ride because of smart design, advanced materials, and construction techniques. The Prius 3 boasts an overall MPG of 52, a city MPG of 43, and a Highway MPG of 59.

Reliability

The Prius received solid, above average predicted reliability scores.

Safety

The standard forward-collision warning and automatic braking system are great safety features. The integrated backup camera appears when you are in reverse, to help when you are parking in a tight spot or backing up. Also available is the Blind Spot Monitor system. It helps you determine when it is safe to change lanes. Additionally, there is an available Rear Cross-Traffic Alert designed to provide an audible indication to help warn you of approaching vehicles. Rain-sensing windshield wipers are also very important for safety.

Warranty

The basic warranty for the Prius 3 is 36 months/36,000 miles. It also has a 60 months/60,000 miles warranty for the Powertrain, Corrosion Perforation, and Restraint Systems. There is a 96 months/100,000 miles warranty for the Hybrid System.

Hyundai Ioniq Blue

Hyundai Ioniq Blue

Image Via hyundaiusa.com

Features

The Hyundai Ioniq has a clean, aerodynamic shape and modern styling. Additionally, it has solid engineering and advanced technology. There are a number of advanced safety features that are available. But its 52 overall MPG makes it one of the most fuel efficient cars available now.

There are three highly efficient powertrains available (hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric). This review focuses on the hybrid (Blue) version.

Pros

  • Combined 139 horsepower engine
  • Available automatic braking and blind-spot warning are available
  • Standard Android Auto and Apple Car Play compatibility
  • Excellent fuel efficiency

Cons

  • Its transmission isn’t the smoothest
  • There is some delay accelerating from a standstill
  • Has unusually long stopping distances for the class of car
  • Limited back-seat space

Price

The 2019 Base Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $22,200-$27,550.
 

Where to Buy

Find information about where to buy this vehicle at hyundaiusa.com

Interior

A power driver seat with lumbar support, heated front seats, and leather seating surfaces are available. Additionally, there is an available 8-inch color audio touchscreen navigation is available. The car has 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks to give you flexibility.

Performance & Fuel Efficiency

The Ioniq has an aerodynamic exterior which allows it to smooth airflow, thus maximizing fuel efficiency. This also provides a smooth ride because of smart design, advanced materials, and construction techniques. The Ioniq hybrid boasts an overall MPG of 52, a city MPG of 43, and a Highway MPG of 59.

Reliability

The Ioniq received solid, above average predicted reliability scores.

Safety

There is an automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection feature available, an available blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert system, and an available Lane Keep Assist, that alerts you when you are veering into another lane of traffic.

Warranty

The basic warranty is for 5 year/60,000 miles. There is a 10 year/100,000 miles Powertrain warranty, a 7 year/unlimited Rust through warranty, and a 5 year/unlimited Roadside aid warranty. Every detail has been optimized to make it advanced and efficient.

Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota Prius Prime

Image Via ​toyota.com

Features

The Toyota Prius Prime is a plug-in Prius version. It is by far one of the most fuel efficient cars with an EPA equivalent MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent - a measure of the average distance traveled per unit of energy consumed) of 133. You are able to choose drive modes to help you select the perfect drive. Prime also has an available intelligent drive coach feature to help elevate your efficiency even further.

The Prime can usually drive about 23 miles on electricity only, but the gas engine starts up in cold weather and under full acceleration. It takes 2 hours to charge the Prime through a 240-volt connector and 5 hours on a regular 120-volt. When not running in EV mode, the Prime alternates between electric and gas power, returning 50 mpg overall.

Pros

  • Compliant ride
  • Responsive handling
  • Standard auto emergency braking
  • Standard lane-keep assist
  • Excellent fuel efficiency
  • Smooth transition between gas and electric power
  • Many standard safety and technology features

Cons

  • Holds four passengers instead of five
  • Does not have a rear wiper
  • Slow acceleration
  • Difficult available infotainment system

Price

The 2019 Base Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $27,100-$33,100.
 

Where to Buy

Find information about where to buy this vehicle at toyota.com

Interior

There is a nice 11.6 inch HD multimedia display that is available. The customizable 4.2-in color dual Multi-Information Display screen provides lots of information and is steering wheel controlled. The Prime has comfortable supportive seats. The front seats feature deep bolsters for body hugging comfort. 60/40 split fold-down rear seats maximize cargo space. Heated front seats are standard in the Prime.

Performance & Fuel Efficiency

Similar to the regular hybrid Prius, the Prius Prime has a compliant ride and responsive handling. It has many aerodynamic features and efficient design components, making it one of the most fuel efficient cars available now. It has an MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent - a measure of the average distance traveled per unit of energy consumed) of 133. When using the gas engine only, it has an overall MPG of 50, 38 City MPG, and 62 Highway MPG.

Reliability

The Prime received solid, above average predicted reliability scores.

Safety

Toyota Safety Sense™ makes the Prime designed for safety. It includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection. This system may apply additional force using Brake Assist. Dynamic Radar Cruise Control uses vehicle distance control which adjusts your speed. The prime has lane departure alert with steering assist (the system may make small corrective steering inputs to keep your vehicle in its lane). Additionally, the Prime has Automatic High Beans to help you see more clearly at night, available Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Monitor, backup camera (standard),  and other features.

Warranty

The Prime comes with a basic 3 year/36,000 miles warranty, a 5 year/60,000 miles Powertrain warranty, a 5 year/unlimited Rust through warranty, and a 2 year/unlimited Roadside aid warranty.

Honda Accord Hybrid

Features

The Honda Accord Hybrid looks sporty with a lower stance and coupe-like silhouette. It is one of the most fuel efficient cars available, with 47 mpg overall without sacrificing acceleration. It has a new 192-hp engine that delivers adequate power. It also has a new and improved infotainment system which includes knobs or tuning and volume adjustment. Standard safety assistance includes Forward Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, lane departure warning, and lane-keeping assist. It has a roomy interior with dual-zone climate control, 10-way power driver’s seat, and heated mirrors.

Pros

  • Sporty look
  • Good acceleration
  • Good standard safety features
  • Has a nice 10-speed automatic transmission
  • Responsive handling and a comfortable ride
  • Excellent fuel efficiency

Cons

  • Unintuitive push-button gear selector
  • Available dual-screen system can be frustrating
  • Under hard acceleration, the engine gets noisy

Price

The 2019 Base Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $23,570-$35,800.
 

Where to Buy

Find information about where to buy this vehicle at automobiles.honda.com

Interior

The Accord has nice leather trimmed seating and roomy interior and includes a 10-way power driver’s seat and dual-zone climate control, as well as heated mirrors. The full-color 7-inch driver interface offers a customizable in-dash display. Its cabin includes Active Noise Cancellation™ which contributes to a quiet interior.

Performance & Fuel Efficiency

There is an uplevel turbo-charged 2.0-liter engine available that brings 252 hp and a slick 10-speed automatic transmission with a push-button gear selector. The Honda Accord hybrid has an overall MPG of 47, a city MPG of 40, and a Highway MPG of 52.

Reliability

The Accord received solid, above average predicted reliability scores.

Safety

In addition to Forward Collision Warning and Automatic Emergency Braking, the Accord is equipped with the Honda Sensing® suite of safety and drive-assistive technologies. Features include a collision mitigation braking system, road departure mitigation system, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, lane keeping assist system, and traffic sign recognition.

Warranty

The Honda Accord Hybrid comes with a 3 year/36,000 limited warranty, a five year/60,000 mile Powertrain warranty, and either an 8 year/100,000 or 10 year/150,000 mile warranty for Hybrid components (depending on state regulations where you purchase and register the vehicle).

Toyota Camry Hybrid LE

Toyota Camry Hybrid LE

Image Via ​toyota.com

Features

The recently redesigned Toyota Camry Hybrid LE is one of the most fuel efficient cars available. It is a sporty looking car. Camry has a Dynamic Force Engine, which provides remarkable efficiency with a powerful and nice drive. The Camry Hybrid has a new standard feature—Apple CarPlay, which allows you to pair your compatible iPhone to provide excellent functionality. The Camry offers the impressive Toyota Safety Sense™ P safety package. This is a mid-size car, making it roomier than other choices.

Pros

  • Comfortable ride
  • Quiet ride
  • Standard Forward Collision Warning
  • Standard Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Larger trunk than many hybrids
  • Excellent fuel efficiency

Cons

  • The lower stance makes it difficult to get into and out of
  • Continuously variable transmission (CVT) is sluggish
  • Blind-spot warning is optional

Price

The 2019 Base Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $23,495-$34,950.
 

Where to Buy

Find information about where to buy this vehicle at toyota.com

Interior

The Camry has 8-way power-adjustable driver’s and front passenger seats that are nicely shaped, with available leather trim. Heated front seats are available. The rear seats are also supportive and have optional rear-seat vents. The Camry has an available Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan to help you see all around you. Wi-Fi connect by Verizon turns the Camry into a hotspot almost anywhere you go.

Performance & Fuel Efficiency

The Camry hybrid has an overall MPG of 47, a city MPG of 39, and a Highway MPG of 53, making it one of the most fuel efficient cars available. What makes it even nicer is the fact that it is a nimble and nice-looking mid-size car, roomier than many of the other models reviewed.

Reliability

The Camry Hybrid received solid, above average predicted reliability scores.

Safety

In addition to the excellent Toyota Safety Sense™ P safety package, the car has an Intelligent Clearance Sonar with Rear Cross-Traffic Braking available that warns you of nearby obstacles and may reduce engine power and apply the brakes under certain conditions. Also available is a Blind Spot Monitor. There are ten airbags standard on the Camry. Lastly, it includes six advanced safety features standard.

Warranty

The Camry Warranty includes a basic warranty of 3 year/36,000 miles, Powertrain warranty of 5 year/60,000 miles, Rust through warranty of 5 year/unlimited, and Roadside aid of 2 year/unlimited.

Honda Clarity PHEV

Features

The Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid model is new for 2018. It is a mid-size car that offers a quality cabin with comfortable seating, excellent fuel economy, and a good electric range (compared to other plug-in hybrids). Additionally, it offers a comfortable ride.

Pros

  • Comfortable ride
  • Quick charging time
  • Comfortable seating
  • Good electric range
  • Upscale for the money
  • Excellent fuel efficiency

Cons

  • Competitors are more agile
  • Sluggish highway passing power
  • Audio controls lack knobs and buttons

Price

The 2018 Base Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $33,400-36,600.

Where to Buy

Find information about where to buy this vehicle at automobiles.honda.com

Interior

There is roomy seating for five. The Clarity offers a very quiet interior. There are heated front seats with power adjustments. Additionally, there is a dual-zone automatic climate control in the front. There is an 8-inch display audio touch-screen with an 8-speaker system. The car offers Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™ integration, and the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™.

Performance & Fuel Efficiency

The Clarity body shape provides streamlined airflow, making it very efficient and quiet. It is very aerodynamic. When using gas, the Clarity gets 44 MPG in the city and 40 MPG on the highway.

Reliability

Since this plug-in hybrid is new for 2018, we don’t have sufficient reliability data at this time.

Safety

The Clarity Electric comes with Honda Sensing®, which is a suite of safety features. The key safety features include Lane Keeping Assist System, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Road Departure Mitigation System, and Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow.

Warranty

The basic warranty for the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid is 36 months/36,000 miles. There is a 60 months/unlimited distance Corrosion perforation warranty, a 96 months/100,000 miles Hybrid electrical components warranty, a 60 months/60,000 miles Powertrain warranty, and a 36 months/36,000 miles Roadside assistance coverage.

Kia Niro FE

Kia Niro FE

Image Via ​kia.com

Features

The Kia Niro is a five-passenger car which is one of the most fuel efficient cars available. It is considered a subcompact SUV. It is quite powerful, at 139 hp. It offers an upscale, comfortable cabin and has lots of cargo space.

Pros

  • Very comfortable seats
  • Spacious interior
  • Good cargo capacity
  • Excellent fuel efficiency

Cons

  • High base price
  • Not very agile handling
  • Choppy ride

Price

The 2019 Base Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $23,340-$32,000.
 

Where to Buy

Find information about where to buy this vehicle at kia.com

Interior

The Niro has an optional power drive seat provides nice support. The interior is stylish. The Niro offers a nice 7-inch color touch-screen display with Apple CarPly™ and Android Auto™. A premium sound system is available and you can charge your compatible smart phone on the available center-console pad.

Performance & Fuel Efficiency

The Niro has an overall MPG of 43, a city MPG of 33, and a Highway MPG of 52, making it one of the most fuel efficient cars in its subcompact SUV class. The 139 hp at 5,700 rpm provides plenty of power. It has an aerodynamic design.

Reliability

The Niro received solid, above average predicted reliability scores.

Safety

In addition to the airbags, the Niro has an Anti-lock Braking System, Vehicle Stability Management, Electronic Stability Control and other features standard. A suite of advanced safety features is available as well which includes Automatic Emergency Braking, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic warning.

Warranty

The Niro basic warranty is 5 year/60,000 miles, its Powertrain warranty is 10 year/100,000 miles, its Rust through warranty is 5 year/100,000 miles, and Roadside aid is 5 year/60,000 miles.

Toyota Avalon Hybrid

Toyota Avalon Hybrid

Image Via ​toyota.com

Features

The Toyota Avalon Hybrid is a large sedan. It was completely redesigned for 2019. It is very roomy and has an extremely comfortable ride. It has a 3.5-liter V6 engine providing plenty of power and the engine is linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission. It is very plush and has a 9 inch easy to use touch screen.

Pros

  • Plush interior
  • Very smooth ride
  • Fancy, upscale cabin
  • Spacious seats
  • Forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking are standard
  • Excellent fuel efficiency

Cons

  • High base price
  • Low stance makes it difficult to get into and out of

Price

The 2019 Base Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $35,500-$42,800.
 

Where to Buy

Find information about where to buy this vehicle at toyota.com

Interior

The Avalon Hybrid has a large 9-inch multimedia touch-screen display that comes with pinch-and-zoom navigation controls that are very easy to use. It offers Apple CarPlay™ standard, and a premium sound system is available. Toyota Remote Connect allows you to control some Avalon functions from remote devices. Additionally, the Avalon has real wood and aluminum trim, and has beautiful leather heated and ventilated front seats available,

Performance & Fuel Efficiency

The Avalon Hybrid has an overall MPG of 42, a city MPG of 32, and a highway MPG of 52, making it one of the most fuel efficient cars in its large sedan class. It has a sleek design.

Reliability

The Avalon received solid, above average predicted reliability scores.

Safety

The Avalon has the excellent Toyota Safety Sense™ P standard. This includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and Automatic High Beams. Other available safety features include adaptive cornering lights and Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan among others.

Warranty

The Avalon Hybrid basic warranty is 3 year/36,000 miles, its Powertrain warranty is 5 year/60,000 miles, its Rust through warranty is 5 year/unlimited, and Roadside aid is 2 year/unlimited.

Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

Features

The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is a very stylish mid-size vehicle. It has a very comfortable ride, is very quiet, and has easy-to-use controls. This hybrid uses some of the Chevrolet Volt’s technology.

Pros

  • Stylish design
  • Quiet cabin
  • Very comfortable ride
  • Intuitive controls
  • Excellent fuel efficiency

Cons

  • Compromised outward visibility compared to competitors
  • Getting in and out of this vehicle can be difficult
  • Base cloth seats are not very supportive

Price

The 2019 Base Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $21,680-$31,020.
 

Where to Buy

Find information about where to buy this vehicle at chevrolet.com

Interior

The Malibu Hybrid’s interior is spacious, comfortable, and quiet. There is a 60/40 split-folding rear bench seat offering flexibility. There is an 8-way power driver seat and 8-inch diagonal color touch-screen display standard.

Performance & Fuel Efficiency

The Malibu Hybrid has an overall MPG of 41, a city MPG of 33, and a Highway MPG of 49, making it one of the most fuel efficient cars in its mid-size class. It handles very nicely.

Reliability

The Malibu received solid, above average predicted reliability scores.

Safety

There are 10 airbags in the Malibu, a rear vision camera, StabiliTrak, electronic stability control system with traction control and tire pressure monitoring system.

Warranty

The Malibu Hybrid basic warranty is 3 year/36,000 miles, its Powertrain warranty is 5 year/60,000 miles, its Rust through warranty is 6 year/100,000, and Roadside aid is 5 year/60,000.

Features

The Chevrolet Cruze is a fuel efficient diesel vehicle that has many nice features available in larger vehicles, such as a very comfortable ride and a quiet interior. While it is a compact vehicle, it has many nice “bigger car” features. There is a start/stop feature that reduces fuel use during idling. The Cruze is available in a 4-Door Hatchback or a Sedan body style.

Pros

  • Comfortable ride
  • Quiet, spacious interior
  • Available built-in 4GLTE WiFi hotspot capability
  • Includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility
  • Lower base price than competitors
  • Rear sets are roomy for its class

Cons

  • Front seats are short on lower-back support
  • Acceleration is lackluster

Price

The 2019 Base Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $16,975-$25,920.
 

Where to Buy

Find information about where to buy this vehicle at chevrolet.com

Interior

The Cruze has front bucket seats, a Rear Vision Camera, a standard 6-way manual driver seat and a 2-way manual front passenger seat. There is a 4-speaker audio system, Bluetooth® standard, and a Built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.

Performance & Fuel Efficiency

The Cruze LT Diesel has an overall MPG of 41, a city MPG of 27, and a Highway MPG of 60, making it one of the most fuel efficient cars that is not a hybrid. The Cruze can definitely compete with other compact sedans.

Reliability

The Cruze received above-average predicted reliability scores.

Safety

Standard safety features include a rearview camera, anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, and others. There are a number of optional safety features including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking (city), lane departure warning and prevention, blind spot detection, and rear cross traffic detection.

Warranty

The Cruze basic warranty is 3 year/36,000 miles, its Powertrain warranty is 5 year/60,000 miles, its Rust through warranty is 5 year/100,000 miles, and Roadside aid is 5 year/60,000 miles.

The Verdict

All of the cars we reviewed are among the most efficient cars available today, so you can't go wrong there. If cost is your only consideration, then the Chevy Cruze is probably for you. It gets good gas mileage, especially for the money and the relative stability of diesel prices.

But if you prefer a more environment-friendly car or one that is large and luxurious with lots of bells and whistles, then consider the Toyota Avalon Hybrid. It is truly a beautiful vehicle. The Hyundai Ioniq, is reasonably priced and offers Apple Play™ and Android Auto™ compatibility. So if those particular features are important to you, be sure to investigate that car.

You may notice that of the 10 vehicles that we reviewed, four were made by Toyota. The Toyota Prius was first sold in the year 2000 and has had four major re-designs. Toyota was at the forefront of fuel efficiency, and they continue to improve. For an excellent vehicle for your money, the Prius will not disappoint.
 

coal tower

Pros & Cons of Nuclear Energy

No matter how many years go by since the 1940s, we have all remained somewhat apprehensive about the stability of nuclear energy, and sadly this fear has only been fueled by a few catastrophic events that have occurred: Chernobyl (1986), 3 Mile Island (1987), and Fukushima (2011), but these events did not result in the death of anywhere near as many people who have died in coal and oil related disasters. However, it's still important to know the pros and cons of nuclear energy so you can better understand why it's so desirable despite the dangers associated with it.

The world's demand for more energy only continues to grow and we have to find the technology that will rise to the occasion. However, we would ideally do so in the best interest of our environment. Despite our unpleasant run-ins with nuclear power, it is one of the most environmentally friendly sources of power and it is in our best interest as a growing population to find alternative sources of power that don’t harm our planet. This article will compare some relevant pros and cons of nuclear energy as an alternative source of power.

WHAT IS NUCLEAR ENERGY?

Nuclear energy is the product of a phenomenon called Nuclear Fission. Fission occurs when splitting the atom of a nucleus. Because of this occurrence, it releases a large amount of energy. Despite the fear and anxiety still left by nuclear energy it is understandable that people are hesitant to accept it as anything but destruction.


The reason it is still being considered as an alternative source to fossil fuels, is ultimately that the process results in far less damage to the environment overall in comparison. There are many pros and cons of nuclear energy, what it can do, and how it compares to other forms of generating power. But this article will not be expanding on the scientific attributes of this form of energy and its production process.

nuclear fission

WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF NUCLEAR ENERGY

Nuclear energy produces around 10% of the world's power and we could produce several times that amount of nuclear energy at will. It is the cleanest form of energy we know of at present, and it offers much lower emissions including carbon dioxide. In addition, it takes a rather small amount of uranium to output a massive amount of power and the average nuclear reactor lasts around 40 to 60 years, but the lifetime of a nuclear reactor is contingent on the how much power it is intended to produce and the quality of its function. Let's move on to the pros and cons of nuclear energy for this article.
 

Pros of Nuclear Energy

source of nuclear energy

Listed below are some positive attributes of nuclear energy and what it offers in terms of clean energy, reliability, quality, and cost.


Less Pollution​


In no capacity does nuclear energy production burn chemicals in the process of producing nuclear energy, so there is no release of harsh gases into the air. In fact, the fluffy clouds that are given off by the stacks of a nuclear plant is only vaporized water. Those "stacks" are large cooling towers filled with water intended for keeping the nuclear reactor(s) from overheating. For the sake of this brief on the pros and cons of nuclear energy, we will also come back to this in our cons list. Nuclear energy is still the most environmentally friendly form of alternative fuel and electricity.


More Reliable than Other Forms of Clean Energy

Solar and Wind energy both rely on weather to produce power. Not to say it is impractical, but to produce large amounts of power constantly it is not exactly ideal. A nuclear power plant can run constantly, uninterrupted, making power for up to about a year. It also maintains a shelf life once produced and can even be stored for much longer than fossil fuels. Nuclear power also does not require the use of any kind of fossil fuels to be produced. Therefore, it is unaffected by the uncontrollably fluctuating costs of gas and oil.


More Electricity for Less Money

Although building new plants can be costly at first, there is a discussion of upgrading existing plants to improve volume instead of building entirely new ones. Regardless, once they are running smoothly, they are inexpensive. That is without mentioning the amount of power they produce will minimal resource. These plants produce electricity with nuclear reactors which is cheaper than coal, gas, or any other fossil fuels.

Uranium is also much cheaper than one would expect, but this does not additionally calculate the cost and expenses of the hauling and safe disposal of various kinds of radioactive material. There is no particular procedure for the disposal of the radioactive material nuclear fission creates as a byproduct.

Cons of Nuclear Energy

hydrogen bomb

Listed below are some negative attributes of nuclear energy and how it affects the environment, weaponry and warfare, disaster, and radioactive filth.


The Nuclear Elephant in the Room


The biggest concern with nuclear energy is the disposing of the used fuel remains which are radioactive and possibly dangerous. Although highly dangerous in mass quantities, which a typical plant produces around 20 metric tons of used nuclear fuel per year. This used fuel takes hundreds of years to decompose to a state that is safe enough for humans to coexist.


This is one quality other sources of fuel do not deal with. This point of Nuclear Power production evokes thoughts of the 1970s through the 1980s when plants were dumping their waste into the ocean and other bodies of water. None of those things take place in our modern world and there are now laws in place to protect against illegal dumping of toxic waste.


 

Use of Nuclear Energy as a Weapon


Nuclear power generation is far from the process of making nuclear weapons, but it poses a threat if exposed to the wrong person or group. In the wrong hands this technology can cause the entire world a whole mess of trouble. Recalling Hiroshima, imagine the potential of that on a worldwide scale. Well, that's what people imagine when they think of "weapons of mass destruction," but those with access to this technology are known and monitored. Interest in this kind of power grows every day, especially as the possibilities evolve from science and energy to weaponry.



Non-Renewable Radioactive Fuel


Uranium can not be re-used, therefore nuclear energy is not a renewable source. But there has been a discussion of the other possibilities uranium may offer to convert it into energy. If not handled properly, even the designated drops of waste can end catastrophically. It quickly contaminates its surroundings and spreads as it ages. Nuclear disasters like the accident at Chernobyl in 1986, leave the environment surrounding the plants uninhabitable by human life. The high levels of radiation have been unsafe for several years and it likely won’t change anytime soon. The damage left behind both in the people and places is still overwhelming to this day.

CONCLUSION

nuclear power

We hope this article has helped you better understand the pros and cons of nuclear energy, and here we offer our final thoughts.

Pros and Cons of Nuclear Energy Compared

Good arguments can be made for both the pros and cons of nuclear energy as an alternative source of power. Although it has so many safe benefits, the negative results are dangerous and not so for the human death toll, but the environmental impact. But when you consider the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that fill our atmosphere, coal, oil fires and accidents happen more often than someone it hurt in a nuclear power workplace environment.

The nuclear industry is firm with their safety in the workplace, and catastrophic incidents are rare, but when an accident can be as devastating as a nuclear meltdown, it causes the public to worry. The shocks of the past remain at the forefront of the public's’ mind and it immediately turns them off to anything related to nuclear energy.

Don't Give into Fear

Despite the negative impacts, overall nuclear energy is technically the least threatening of all forms of energy. With every other fossil fuel dissolving our atmosphere, nuclear energy may be the only way to dismiss the amount of greenhouse gases emitted during the production of nuclear energy, but if we were to fully explore the benefits of having nuclear energy, we would need to create a plan to manage the disposal of used fuel.

Until then no one will truly be ready to trust in any kind of casual use of nuclear power, we desperately need as I world continues to grow. Perhaps finding more ways to combat this issue would evolve as we further experiment within the parameters we have at present, but as much as some may not want to admit it, we are getting close to the point of needing to put the wheels of large-scale nuclear fission in motion.

installing solar panel

The Future of Solar Energy: How Far Can It Take Us?

With the rises in population, urbanization, and commercialization that are occurring, the need for viable renewable energy resources is also rising. Depletion of natural resources is quite a considerable threat to the sustenance of life as we know it.  Solar energy is a landmark in the advancement of the technology that lets us harness the energy from the sun, which we receive in the form of radiation and harness to produce useful energy resources such as electricity.

The future of solar energy is becoming increasingly bright, as it is like a whole treasure of renewable energy resources just waiting to be harnessed.

Studies show that the amount of solar radiation that the earth receives in merely an hour from the sun is more than enough to fuel our global energy needs for almost a year. The future is unpredictable but, given the current trends of solar energy usage and many scientific research studies that have been conducted, solar energy seems like the best answer to our energy resource woes. Let us take a look into the future of solar energy.


What Is the Future of Solar Energy?

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Solar energy is the energy received from the sun’s radiation, which is then harnessed to make it usable. It is expected to play a vital role in the future energy landscape. This is made possible by photovoltaic (PV) cells, which are commonly used in solar panels, calculators, spacecraft, and other energy-consuming items. These PV cells are made of a type of semi-conductor material, which displays the ‘photovoltaic’ effect. When sunlight hits these PV cells, the photons in sunlight activate the electrons in PV cells and knock them out of their atoms, thus causing them to flow freely through the cell and generate electricity.

In addition, there are large-scale solar-thermal power plants that use technology to concentrate the solar energy to form a strong heat source. This heat is used to boil water, which then drives a steam turbine to generate electricity. This method can be used to provide electricity to thousands of people. In addition, generating electricity by harnessing solar energy emits no carbon dioxide (CO2), which further makes it a sustainable and extremely environmentally friendly choice.

Here we have just scraped the surface, but the possibilities for harnessing solar energy to fulfill our regular electricity needs are immense. The future of solar energy looks bright... literally!


What Are Some Benefits of Solar Power?

Electric Posts

Currently, the actual usage of solar electricity is a nominal 2 percent of the total electricity generation in the United States, even though the potential has been available to reach a minimum of 40%. The future of solar energy and how we harness it depends on several factors which can boost the efficiency of solar panels. Solar energy should become one of the mainstream choices for global electricity needs.


Advanced Technology & Changing Materials

Generous government subsidies for solar energy will fuel the global expansion of solar panel production and use. These subsidies can help in funding for research and development. This can also help experts work further toward the improvement of stability and efficiency of solar panels while reducing their cost of production.


Perovskite

There is a possibility that perovskite (a mineral discovered in the 19th century) will replace crystalline silicon in solar cells. Perovskite not only enhances the efficiency of solar cells but also eases the manufacturing process. The only drawback is its durability, which is yet to match the durability of the historically used crystalline silicon, but the future possibilities are very exciting.


Recycle & Recover

The materials that go into making solar panels are the same set of rare-earth elements that are used by manufacturers of laptops, cell phones, electric vehicles, etc. With the global reserves of such materials constantly shrinking, the future of solar energy is also highly dependent on how these tech giants react to the age-long attempts of solar panel manufacturers to use substitutes like iron pyrite or zinc for production of such high-end devices and gadgets. 

One key consideration: Unless these companies focus on improving their processes for recycling metals and recovery systems, powerful and efficient solar panel recycling infrastructure will remain nothing but a distant dream.


Growth in Usage

Solar energy accounts for just one percent of global electricity production, but facts and research states that this number will see an exponential rise to 16% by 2050. Use of rooftop solar panels will increase remarkably with time, but analysts’ state that the game-changing expansion will happen in the utility scale.


Cost-Efficiency

Changing economies, more availability, and reduced costs for the materials used will likely bring down the price of solar panels largely in the near future. Analysts have tentatively forecast a price drop of about 17% is expected between 2018 and 2022. 

Some places in the USA and a few other nations around the world have already been able to achieve grid parity. This means that the cost of harnessing solar energy for electricity is now equal to or lower than purchasing energy from the grid. Even though improvements in solar manufacturing are highly responsible for the price drop across the industry, the steadily increasing number of solar panel installations and financial initiatives to make ends meet are also equally involved in bringing down the cost.


What Are Some Benefits of Solar Power?

Here are some of the most important reasons to keep developing solar power:

  • Solar energy comes from a natural source and is both sustainable and renewable, which means we will never run out of it
  • Solar panels require minimal maintenance once you have installed the panels and the panels are working at maximum efficiency
  • Only nominal maintenance work is required each year, which means lower costs overall
  • Zero emissions add to the benefits of solar power generation and makes it a sustainable and environment-friendly option
  • While PV cells convert sunlight to usable energy, there is absolutely no noise from the PV panel
  • Constant advancements in solar energy harnessing technology are gradually reducing the cost of production
  • The efficiency of solar panels is steadily improving, making the future of solar energy even more cost-effective


Future Solar Products and Uses

solar panel

 

Revamped Solar Panels

Solar panels as we know and commonly see them now might not be quite the same a few years down the line. Researchers and scientists are coming up with new alterations and up gradations all the time aimed to enhance and improve their efficiency. Michigan State University-based researchers have developed a prototype for transparent (or clear) solar panels that can be used in various places like buildings, commercial spaces, vehicles, and even cell phones.

The scope of application might be immense for clear solar panels. But since this technology is still in its infancy, the efficiency is a mere 5% compared to the 15% efficiency of traditional solar panels we have today. It might take a few more years to increase the efficiency of these panels, and then they may really become the game-changer in taking solar energy into the mainstream.


Solar Shingles

Solar shingles are a recently developed type of black- and blue-colored panels that might take the industry by storm. These look like the usual roof shingles we often see, but they are equipped with solar cells. When connected in a series, these cells generate a similar amount of electricity to a same-sized, conventional solar panel. Many companies and technology giants are penetrating the solar shingle market with an expectation of taking this technology to people sceptical about installing huge, clunky solar panels on their roofs.

Transparent solar panels and solar shingles are advancements in this field that could change the landscape of the solar panel market globally and make it mainstream.


Microgrids

Microgrids (another name for "decentralized electricity production setup") are also a part of the future of solar energy. These are effective in powering up a limited area like a village or a neighborhood. This makes microgrids an ideal medium to bring expansion on a global scale and ensure the power and utility of solar energy spreads to developing countries where harnessing energy to produce electricity is of the utmost importance. Such places, which were otherwise off the grid due to the expenses, can readily be a part of this expansion. That is the most exciting thing microgrids have to offer.


Conclusion

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The use of solar panels and PV cells is steadily increasing in both urban and rural regions globally. We have just scratched the surface of the benefits and necessity of harnessing solar energy, and it is only a matter of time before solar energy can be used to power up the world.

With the raging battle against worsening climate change, the need for a renewable source of energy is huge and pressing. Solar energy can be a saving grace and play a major role in the mitigation of climate change all around the world. It is clean, environment friendly, efficient, highly sustainable, and renewable. With more advancements in research to come in this industry, a solar-powered world might be right around the corner.