As the effects of climate change become more obvious, consumers are looking for ways of changing their behaviors to help save the planet. Corporations that manufacture anything from rope to cars are feeling the pressure to adopt more sustainable and eco-friendly practices. Manufacturing cars with better fuel economy was a key strategy in the past. Nowadays, what the cars themselves are built with and the type of fuel they consume are more important issues.
Cars Built from Hemp?
Industrial hemp is used for making rope, textiles, insulation, paper, plastic, metal, synthetic fabrics, oils and lubricants, among other things. The plastics and metals made from hemp are lighter and last longer than aluminum or steel. Building a car out of materials made from hemp is not a new idea at all. In 1941, Henry Ford had a prototype car built out of cellulose-based plastic made from hemp and other agricultural products. Known as the Model-T, it was also powered with fuel produced from hemp oil.
Cars that are made from lighter materials have better gas mileage. Many parts of an automobile can be manufactured from the plastics and metals made with hemp. These include side panels, windshields, faux-leather seats and more. The light weight of automobile parts produced from hemp is especially beneficial with electric cars powered mostly by batteries. These kinds of vehicles need to move longer distances with less of a push.
Earth-Friendly Fuel for Cars
Biodesiels that are produced with hemp can keep a car running just as long as regular diesel fuel you can buy at the gas station does. The added benefit is that the engine that uses this kind of oil will not discharge as much harmful CO2 into the atmosphere as it would with diesel fuel. There are examples of how easy it is to turn an existing engine into one that can work with biodiesel fuel made with hemp if you just look for them.
Although the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp production, there was still some uncertainty about the details of it, and farmers have been wary. With the release of the USDA’s industrial hemp regulations, there will be less confusion. Industrial hemp, not marijuana, can be utilized on a mass scale to change the way cars are manufactured as well as the fuel that powers them.