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Alternative Fuel Sources – Persuasive Essay 1

Please read the paper below, handed in by one of my HACC students and re-produced here with
her permission. I have added comments in green to help you better understand what makes this
an A quality persuasive paper. Anyone can write a really strong persuasive piece; just keep your
audience in mind as you formulate your arguments, and remember to use strong wording. Oh,
and edit carefully!

Dear Dr. Gray,

Did you know that in the very near future infectious diseases could spread across this

country in alarming numbers? Scare tactics make for a great hook here! The Intergovernmental

Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report indicating that climate change led to the

shrinking of glaciers, and could eventually lead to ocean currents being altered. This could

promote the spread of infectious diseases quickly across the nation and world (Facts on File

News Services Database, “Update: Global Warming”). As a nursing assistant at York Hospital

in York, Pennsylvania. I was shocked nice strong word choice to learn that you do not believe

global warming is an issue about which we need to be concerned. . Global warming is a real

problem that needs to be addressed. Due to the many issues of global warming, I have decided

to discuss the use of alternative fuel sources. Good focus Alternative fuel sources will create a

safer environment, improve our health, and are essential to reverse the negative impact that

global warming has had on the earth. Clear and robust thesis. We know exactly what this student

will discuss, and we have a hint as to what the solution will be.
Alternative Fuel Sources – Persuasive Essay 2

There are serious health complications related to burning of fossil fuels, and the

environment has changed drastically due to our use of these fuels. Dr. Gray, I have researched

alternative fuel sources thoroughly and believe that American citizens must seriously consider

the impact of burning fossil fuels. Global warming is the gradual increase of the temperature of

the earth’s lower atmosphere. Solid definition This is a result of the increase in greenhouse

gases. The atmosphere’s temperature near the earth’s surface is warmed through a natural

process called the greenhouse effect ( The

burning of fossil fuels emits carbon dioxide, which has increased greenhouse gases in the

atmosphere. The increased gases are damaging the ozone layer (Facts on File News Services

Database, “Update: Global Warming”). It would be very hard to give an overview of global

warming throughout history, so this student instead uses the background paragraph to explain

what global warming is and what causes it, which I think works for this paper.

Dr. Gray, Note how the student continually re-addresses the audience, which makes this

letter feel personal. I understand that you believe global warming is not caused by burning fossil

fuels. In your article, “Global Warming is not Caused by Human Activities,” you state that

scientists use flawed computer models to indicate how increased greenhouse gases will affect the

world in the future. While you give many facts as to why you do not believe humans cause

global warming, I am sure you are concerned about the health of yourself and your family

(Gray). Excellent personalized concession.

As a result of burning fossil fuels, we are now experiencing air pollution, which is a

killer. It leads to 60,000 premature deaths a year. Shocking statistic The biggest source of air

pollution is the automobile ( Automobiles release carbon dioxide

Alternative Fuel Sources – Persuasive Essay 3

into the air, which becomes trapped and stays in the atmosphere. Air pollution triggers asthma

attacks. As a person with asthma, I am very concerned about the air that I breathe. Personal


Equally important is a disease that I have seen as a healthcare professional, which is

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Nice way to tie your profession in with your

topic This is a chronic lung condition where the airways in the lungs are obstructed. People with

COPD have a blockage in the tubes and air sacs in the lungs, which makes it difficult to exhale.

Concise explanation COPD is the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States. One cause

of COPD is air pollution ( Dr. Gray, have you ever

seen a person with COPD die? As a nursing assistant, I have seen people succumb to this

horrible disease. It is extremely difficult for the patient to breathe and eventually they die. The

sad part is they know they are going to die and their family has to watch them. Great emotional

appeal, though sad! Sometimes it can take weeks before the patient actually dies. During the

time the patient first comes into the hospital until the time they pass away, you can really get to

know them and their family. It’s difficult to watch someone not be able to breathe. Some of my

co-workers have had patients tell them they know they are dying and they are afraid. They don’t

want to leave their families. Can you imagine the agony they must be going through because

they can’t breathe? Very powerful.

I like how the author follows this depressing example up with a positive look forward

towards a solution. This is a subtle trick, but it works very well and keeps the reader from just

getting bummed and doing nothing. Dr. Gray, we must develop solutions to protect our health

and the health of our families from air pollution. One solution is to improve transmissions and
Alternative Fuel Sources – Persuasive Essay 4

engines in vehicles. Vehicles need to have more aerodynamic designs and use stronger, but

lighter material. This could increase fuel economy to 40 miles per gallon (mpg) over ten years,

which would be similar to taking 44 million vehicles off the road. Drivers could save thousands

of dollars in fuel over the life of the vehicle (The Union of Concerned Scientists). Financial


Similarly, one new source of alternative fuel includes gas-electric hybrid cars and

advanced design wind turbines. One of the gas-electric cars manufactured by Toyota is the

Prius. It gets 46 mpg compared to 20 mpg for an average new car. Gasoline use in the United

States could be reduced to half of its current use if only hybrid cars were manufactured. Hybrids

can be made to run mostly on electricity. A larger battery can be put in these cars, which would

increase the storage of electricity. Manufacturers are now working on recharging the batteries

with off peak wind generated electricity. The hybrids would then run mostly on electricity. If

this were to happen, it could reduce fuel use up to 80 percent. This could help reduce automobile

carbon dioxide emissions by 90 percent (Brown). Good appeal to alternatives.

Furthermore, President Bush presented a Hydrogen Initiative in his State of the Union

address on January 28, 2003. This initiative is $1.2 billion to help develop cars that operate on

hydrogen fuel cells by 2020. Hydrogen is produced from hydrogen containing materials such as

water, natural gas or methane. The hydrogen fuel cells do not pollute the air, unlike fossil fuels.

Water and heat are byproducts of hydrogen. Hydrogen burns much cleaner than gasoline, which

is safer for the environment (CQ Press database, CQ Researcher Online). Nice source!

Dr. Gray, my desire is for you to understand why I believe using alternative fuels are

necessary to protect our environment. Very clearly stated They will help to create a safer and
Alternative Fuel Sources – Persuasive Essay 5

healthier environment by reducing air pollution. Individuals with lung diseases will be able to

live improved and more productive lives if air pollution is reduced. It’s not rainbows and

sunshine, but she’s painting a nice picture of how the world will be if action is taken. Global

warming is real and something must be done to help protect the environment. As a fellow

citizen, I hope you will agree with me that alternative fuels sources are necessary to preserve our

environment for the future. Please use your vast knowledge of global warming a little subtle

flattery never hurt anyone! to encourage congress to enact laws enforcing the use of alternative

fuels. She could have been just a little more detailed when she encourages Dr. Gray to pressure

congress I know that action will be taken on this issue quickly and I look forward to hearing

from you soon. Clear solution.

Thank you for your time and consideration on this matter.


Student name omitted

Works Cited

“Update: Global Warming.” Issues & Controversies On File (5 Apr. 2007) Facts On File News

Services. Harrisburg Community College, Harrisburg, PA. 10 Oct. 2008


Alternative Fuels. American Lung Association. 14 Oct. 2008


Brown, Lester R. Plan B 3.0 Mobilizing To Save Civilization. New York: W. W. Norton &
Alternative Fuel Sources – Persuasive Essay 6

Company, 2008.

Used section entitled Wind Powered Plug-In Hybrid Cars, pgs. 243-245

Encyclopedia: Global Warming. Columbia University Press. 1 Oct. 2008


Cooper, Mary H. “Alternative Fuels. Is Hydrogen the Fuel of the Future?” CQ Researcher

Online (25 Feb. 2005): 173-196. CQ Press. Harrisburg Area Community College,

Harrisburg, PA. 09 Oct. 2008


COPD: Definition & Causes. Mayo Clinic. 13 Nov. 2008


Gray, William H. Conserving the Environment. Ed. John Woodward and Jennifer Skancke.

Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2006.

Article entitled Global Warming Is Not Caused by Human Activities, pg. 107-118

Works Cited - Continued

Lynas, Mark. Humanity’s Future. Ed. Louise I. Gerdes. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2006.

Article entitled Global Warming Is a Serious Threat to Humanity’s Future pg. 123-129

Union of Concerned Scientists. Pollution. Ed. Debra A. Miller. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2007.

Article entitled Numerous Solutions Now Exist to Reduce Global Warming, pg. 180

great citations !
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