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eBay Collection: Green Machines

Green  /   /  By Nina Russin

eBay Collection: Green Machines

Alternative fuel vehicles date back to the early 1800s, with the first electric carriage appearing about 30 years after the first gas-powered vehicle. Electric cars made up about thirty percent of all cars on the road in 1900, but demand waned after Charles Kettering invented the electric starter, eliminating the need for a crank start. The first fuel crisis of the 1970s was a wake-up call for Americans who expected their plentiful supply of gasoline to last forever. Since then, there have been several periods of intense research and development to find alternatives for traditional gasoline cars, each followed by a drop in gas prices and renewed disinterest.

In 1990, the state of California tried to mandate the use of electric cars with the Zero Emissions Vehicle mandate. It fell flat. It was not until 2000, when the Toyota Prius, already a hit in the Japanese market, arrived stateside, that an alternative fuel car was a commercial success.

Despite the fact that electric cars, diesel and hybrids have been around almost as long as the internal combustion engine, the issue of alternative fuels continues polarize the car-buying public. On one end are the dyed-in-the-wool gear-heads who wish the Toyota Prius had never been invented; on the other are environmentalists who think the world would be a better place if we all rode bicycles instead of driving.

What excites me about the current crop of green cars is their real-world functionality. The advent of on-board computers, improved battery technology, low sulfur diesel and other innovations have made it possible to own and drive electric, clean diesel and hybrid vehicles without compromising any of the power, performance or convenience features car buyers have come to expect. The fact that Toyota Priuses flourish in taxicab fleets is testament to their durability. Audi’s R10 diesel racecar is a rocket ship on wheels, and who wouldn’t like to test drive a Tesla Model S?

Click the link to discover more eBay Collections created by Nina:

  • Active Lifestyle Vehicles
  • Bringing up Baby
  • Best New Luxury SUVs
  • Crossovers for a Small Planet
  • Different by Design: My Favorite Oddball Cars
  • Best Cars for the Street or Any Racing School
  • Hot Family Rides
  • Ladies’ Choice
  • Land Cruiser Legend: Stations of Mt. Fuji
  • Magic Bus: An Unofficial History of the Minivan
  • Rock Stars: Off-Road Vehicles of the 60s and 70s
  • Route 66: The Mother Road
  • School’s Out: Top Picks for College Grads
  • Suburbia and the Chevrolet Suburban
  • Tuners and Drifters
  • WRC Hotshots
  • Willys and Beyond: the Iconic Jeep Wrangler
About the Author

Nina Russin is an ASE certified automotive technician and writer who has been covering the automotive industry for 30 years. She was a weekly automotive columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times for 10 years, and a contributor to AutoWeek, Automobile Quarterly, Collectible Automobile, Cycle World, and AAA Arizona Highroads Magazine. Russin is co-founder and president of Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year, an annual competition.

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