In Malaysia, most vehicles and motorcycles run on either petrol or diesel. The above causes pollution of the atmosphere. Engines of the above vehicles emit carbon monoxide into the atmosphere, thus polluting the earth’s surroundings.

The price of petrol has been rising by leaps and bounds. Not only will the price of fuel escalate to a level that is beyond the means of consumers that is motorists of the world, petrol will deplete one day. Its supply will eventually run out. Besides that, is the more serious problem, which the world faces today. Pollution of the earth’s atmosphere is a major concern of environmentalists.

The world as a whole should seriously consider the problem of our atmosphere’s pollution, especially by vehicles. Over the years, the authorities, which are the government, have become very concerned with the problem of carbon monoxide emission by vehicles.

A few years ago, in Malaysia, we used to have diesel powered vehicles, especially buses, lorries, vans and trailers. These are termed as “commercial vehicles”. Inspite of the fact that diesel powered vehicles are cheaper to run and operate, its road tax is 4 to 5 times more expensive than petrol driven vehicles. Diesel engine vehicles are said to pollute the atmosphere more than petrol driven vehicles.

In line with the intention to reduce pollution of the atmosphere, very recently, the government took steps to discourage the use of 2 stroke engine motorcycles, especially Yamaha and Suzuki motorbikes from the Malaysian market.

Such motorbikes were said to pollute the atmosphere more than bikes which were powered by 4 stroke engines. Honda motors were said to use 4 stroke technology as compared to their counterparts. It is thus said to be a cleaner engine.

The above message by the government was passed on to Suzuki and Yamaha agents in Malaysia, to enable producers of the above motorcycles in Japan to take the necessary precautions needed to switch over to the production of vehicles which adhere more towards 4 stroke engine technologies.

As a result, with the passage of some 10 to 20 years, glad to say that Suzuki agents in Malaysia, Messrs Guan Hoe and Yamaha Motors for Yamaha motorcycles in Malaysia have gradually switched over to the introduction of 4 stroke bikes into the Malaysian market.

Pertaining to diesel powered vehicles, steps have also been taken to ensure that diesel powered vehicles were to be phased out from the market with the aim of protecting the earth’s atmosphere.

Besides the above steps, vehicles with other means of propulsion, like “solar” powered vehicles, were introduced into the Malaysian market. Unfortunately, such types of vehicles met with little success. Not only were such vehicles costly to produce and were too bulky.

Malaysia, although a hot tropical country, at times faced an unreliable supply of sunlight from time to time. As readers are aware, solar powered vehicles cannot do with such unreliable supply of sunlight even for a short span of time.

Of late, “hybrid” cars were gradually being introduced into the Malaysian market. Toyota, Honda and lately Ford, have taken steps to introduce such types of vehicles into Malaysia. The government on its part, has done its role to switch over to hybrid and electric cars.

Hybrid cars run on a combination of petrol and battery power. Such cars are infact rather expensive. When first introduced into Malaysia some few years ago, such cars bordered around RM150,000 per unit.

For your information, my own brother-in- law, a Mr. Ooi, was amongst one of the first few motorists in Malaysia to secure a hybrid vehicle, a Honda model, I was told it costs Mr. Ooi some RM135,000 to obtain the above car. Since then, the government has taken concrete steps to reduce the government excise duty, “ad valorem”, I think, with the view of encouraging the usage of such cars.

Today, the above hybrid Honda model is available at a price of around RM120,000. It is anticipated that such models of vehicles will even cost lower with the passage of time.

Speaking about hybrid cars, another famous and well known producer of such vehicles in Malaysia, Toyota Motors, has of late, been importing hybrid cars into our country. My bro-in-law, Mr. Ooi tells me, steps are also taken to introduce cars into Malaysia soon.

Before Japan was unfortunately hit by the 9.0 earthquake, followed by the disastrous tsunami which followed, my son-in-law, Kin, became the proud owner of his long awaited Toyota Prius. It cost my son-in-law a sum of nearly RM130,000 for the hybrid car. It is believed that he certainly derive extreme and immeasurable pleasure in driving the above car in the years to come.