The answer is simple. I just went Biodiesel.
The car you see in the photo is 22 years old. A 1985 Mercedes Benz 300SD. It has 160,000 miles on it and I expect to get easily another 150,000. At the rate I drive, less than 10K a year, I expect the car to be good for another fifteen years at least.
The best thing is this: nobody died for the fuel in the tank.
Crossposted at Dailykos.com
There’s a lot of confusion about Biodiesel. That’s because the terms are thrown around pretty carelessly by those selling the cars and doing conversions.
This car is NOT converted. It’s the standard Diesel engine that came with the car originally. You do NOT have to convert your car to run on biodiesel. Not one bit.
That’s the beauty of it. Any diesel engine can run on 100% biodiesel without modifying it in any way.
That is because biodiesel actually IS diesel fuel. The fuel has been converted instead of the engine.
Where the confusion comes in is when people want to actually run their diesels on pure vegetable oil. In that case, due to the high viscocity of the vegetable oil, the engine needs to be modified so that the oil is heated, and therefore thinned, to the point where the engine can safely use it. That’s a wonderful idea, because then the enterprising soul can retrieve used vegetable oil from restaurants and after some careful filtering can burn it as fuel in their car. Or you can just buy some big jugs of Mazola at Costco and burn that.
But for now I’m using biodiesel, which is 100% vegetable oil (and sometimes fish oil) which has been treated with wood grain alcohol (the kind that will blind you if you drink it — methanol) which chemically converts it into a diesel fuel that any diesel engine can use.
Furthermore, I’m helping the climate:
A 1998 biodiesel lifecycle study, jointly sponsored by the US Department of Energy and the US Department of Agriculture, concluded biodiesel reduces net CO2 emissions by 78 percent compared to petroleum diesel. This is due to biodiesel’s closed carbon cycle. The CO2 released into the atmosphere when biodiesel is burned is recycled by growing plants, which are later processed into fuel.
This excellent page from a Seattle-based Biodiesel supplier goes into even further detail about the environmental benefits to biodiesel over Petro-diesel:
Using Biodiesel in place of gasoline or petro-diesel significantly reduces your vehicle emissions. In comparing B100 Biodiesel to petro-diesel, the following figures have been provided by the EPA*:
Unburned hydrocarbons are reduced by 67%
Carbon monoxide is reduced by 48%
Particulate matter is reduced by 47%
Sulfates are reduced by 100%
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are reduced by 80%
Nitrated PAHs are reduced by 90%
I have every intention of doing an engine conversion to my new car because I like the idea of being able to run the car on not only biodiesel but also vegetable oil. But that’s a few months and several hundred dollars away.
In the meantime I’m running it on pure biodiesel, and the main reason I’m writing this diary is this:
I cannot tell you how good it felt to drive away from filling it up the first time with the biodiesel knowing that nobody died for my fuel. Knowing that no Big Oil Company profited from this tank of fuel, and knowing that I never had to use their blood-soaked fuel ever again.
And since I’ve crossed that rubicon (which I have to admit I was a little nervous to do — I mean, I’ve never poured anything but gasoline or petro-diesel into a car’s tank before — WHAT WOULD IT DO? WOULD IT REALLY WORK?) I am just shocked at every car I see, all the millions of them that crowd Los Angeles, that are NOT running on this stuff.
You have a choice now. You don’t have to drive a car that runs on gasoline. You can do what I did. And if you don’t want to drive a 22 year old car, there are plenty of new Diesels that you can buy and run on pure biodiesel.
You can tell Exxon to go fuck themselves.
It feels great.
Just for fun I want to show you these little babies which will be available in the United States in 2008 (finally).
They actually make a .7 liter Diesel which is currently available in Canada (not here) which gets something like 81 mpg.
They’re about to make hybrids and EV’s as well.
You can click here to find a biodiesel retail pump near you. (and more are on their way, believe me)
And yes they’re trying to ban biodiesel in Bush’s state of Texas. This is total bullshit and is being fought. But you can bet the Oil Companies are gonna fight this tooth and nail. Because they know that this is one way out of their power over us — you can make your own damn biodiesel and cut them out of the picture completely!
American car companies are also deliberately keeping many models off the American market. Imagine that …