Would You Use US-made Alternative Fuels in Your Vehicle?

  1. http://www.biodiesel.org/

    What is biodiesel?
    Biodiesel is a vegetable oil-based fuel that runs in diesel engines - cars, buses, trucks, construction equipment, boats, generators, and oil home heating units. It's usually made from soy or canola oil, and can also be made from recycled fryer oil (yes, from McDonalds or your local Chinese restaurant). You can blend it with regular diesel or run 100% biodiesel. As little as a 2% blend can reduce emissions by 30%.

    What are the benefits?
    1) National security. Since it's made in America, it reduces our dependence on foreign oil. That's good.

    2) National economy. Using biodiesel keeps our fuel buying dollars here in America instead of sending it to foreign countries. This reduces our trade deficit and creates jobs.

    3) It's sustainable & non-toxic. Face it, we're going to run out of oil eventually. Biodiesel is 100% renewable... we'll never run out of it. And if it gets into your water supply, there's no problem - it's veggie oil! Heck, you can drink it if you so desire, but it tastes nasty (trust me).
    (Learn more)

    4) Emissions. Biodiesel is nearly carbon-neutral, meaning it contributes almost zero emissions to global warming and contributes practially nothing to acid rain! Biodiesel also dramatically reduces other emissions. I like clean air, how about you? Plus, the exhaust smells like popcorn or french fries!
    (Learn more)

    5) Engine life. Studies have shown it reduces engine wear by as much as one half and increases fuel economy by up to 13%, primarily because it provides excellent lubricity. Even a 20% biodiesel/80% diesel blend will help.
    (Learn more)

    6) Drivability. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't notice an immediate smoothing of the engine with biodiesel. It just runs quieter, and produces less smoke.

    Are there any negatives?
    There are a couple.
    1) Primarily that it's not readily available in much of the nation, YET (click here for a map of locations). Consumption jumped from 500,000 gallons in 2000 to 15 million gallons in 2001, so hopefully availability will change soon. 2) Biodiesel will clean your injectors and fuel lines. If you have an old diesel vehicle, there's a chance that your first tank or two of BD could free up all the accumulated crud and clog your fuel lines. 3) It has a higher gel point. B100 (100% biodiesel) gets slushy little under 32F. But B20 (20% biodiesel, 80% regular diesel - more commonly available than B100) has a gel point of -15F. Like regular diesel, the gel point can be lowered further with additives such as kerosene (blended into winter diesel in cold-weather areas). 4) Finally, old vehicles might require upgrades of fuel lines (a cheap, easy upgrade), as BD can eat through certain types of rubber. Almost all new vehicles should have no problem with BD.

    All content copyright 2002, Biodieselnow.com
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  2. Poll: Would you use Biodiesel in your vehicle?

    • Yep, it's cheaper and cleaner.

      72.34% 34
    • No, I don't like newfangled stuff.

      6.38% 3
    • I don't know. Is it cheap?

      10.64% 5
    • Not if it's expensive to convert or maintain.

      10.64% 5
    47 Votes
  3. 15 Comments

  4. by   Morguein
    We haven't needed fossil fuel for the last 50 years...There is technology out there that would eliminate our false need for oil; but its sitting on a shelf collecting dust while those in the oil business make millions if not billions. I know it sounds crazy, but it's true.
  5. by   Tweety
    Moonepie, I agree, there's no way, no how I'm going to believe we have to be this oil dependent.

    To answer the question. Yes, I would use alternatives if is became readily available.
  6. by   prmenrs
    I would like to buy a hybrid, but just bought a new car last year. Hopefully, in another year or 2, the hybrid Ford Escape will be more available. Right now, the hybrids all have waiting lists.
  7. by   gerry79
    We live in such a profit driven, bottom line society, that in my opnion, if alternative fuel could replace oil, some CEO of an alternative fuel company would figure out how to maximize profits by charging outragoues amounts for the replacement fuel. Does gas really need to be as high as it is? Maybe I am missing something, and I admit, I do not fully understand the refining process and the costs associated with it, but the profit margins are incredible for oil companies. Maybe I'm just a glass half empty type of guy. Sorry to rain on everyones parade.
  8. by   actioncat
    It doesn't even need to be cheaper for me-- just cleaner.

    And think about the oil spills that will be avoided! I get a pit in my stomach whenever I see one on the news.
  9. by   VizslaMom
    Wouldn't farmers be the new 'oil barons' if we switched to canola oil fuels??
    There would be Jed Clampits all over the place! (kidding)

    Sounds like a great alternative to me.
  10. by   robsta
    Quote from gerry79
    We live in such a profit driven, bottom line society, that in my opnion, if alternative fuel could replace oil, some CEO of an alternative fuel company would figure out how to maximize profits by charging outragoues amounts for the replacement fuel. Does gas really need to be as high as it is? Maybe I am missing something, and I admit, I do not fully understand the refining process and the costs associated with it, but the profit margins are incredible for oil companies. Maybe I'm just a glass half empty type of guy. Sorry to rain on everyones parade.
    Although I voted *yes* in the poll, I agree with gerry79. Until the advent of the internal combustion engine and the need for carbon-based fuel, crude oil was cheap - and known as pitch, good for roofs and roads. It doesn't matter what we end up using as a source of energy, they'll figure out some way to corner the market and limit it's availabilty, thus causing shortages and driving up the price (like they're doing in the current Gulf War - actually keeping the flow of crude from reaching the market and creating an artificial shortage).

    Also, both soy and canola are highly toxic (neither of these should be ingested!!), and I'm wondering what kind of harm they'd do to the environment if everyone started using it.

    robsta
  11. by   dazzle256
    Quote from prmenrs
    I would like to buy a hybrid, but just bought a new car last year. Hopefully, in another year or 2, the hybrid Ford Escape will be more available. Right now, the hybrids all have waiting lists.
    I've had two hybrids. My first was the Honda Civic. Loved it !! Ran like a bat out of hell thought I had a sports car. Anyway traded it in reluctantly for the Toyotal Priius because it was bigger and my husband needed the leg room.

    Anyway.....I don't think there is a waiting list for the Honda
  12. by   robsta
    Before the advent of bio-diesel, wasn't there talk about developing auto engines that would run on nitrogen? Or was I just dreaming?

    I drive an older car that gets great mpgal - and ride my bike when it's not raining.

    robsta
  13. by   11:11
    Quote from Moonepie
    We haven't needed fossil fuel for the last 50 years...There is technology out there that would eliminate our false need for oil; but its sitting on a shelf collecting dust while those in the oil business make millions if not billions. I know it sounds crazy, but it's true.
    Ahemm....Billions. Many billions.

    But the well is running dry, why else would Saudi not be able to turn up the pump? They cant. We'll be out of commercially viable oil in less than 50 years.

    If the tech isnt there, its just around the corner really in a commercial sense. I would drive an all electric or fuel cell, but probably not an alternative combustive fuel. And I love my turbocharged sports car.

    The reality of biodiesel is enough could never be grown to support the energy need even if thats all farmers grew. Even the corn derivative ethenol is a scam costing more than it saves. The farmers out here sure love it though.

    The bummer is the entire world economy (not just ours) is oil driven, so be prepared for a depression of monumental proportions.

    Speaking of alternative fuels why not nuclear like France does?

    11
    Last edit by 11:11 on Dec 4, '04
  14. by   robsta
    Quote from 11:11
    Speaking of alternative fuels why not nuclear like France does?

    11
    Nuclear?? What's so clean about nuclear?

    robsta
  15. by   vaughanmk
    I drive a diesel now. It's just a pickup truck, not like the semi's or heavy trucks. It is actually cleaner than gasoline run vehicles. I have heard that many of the activists for a cleaner environment are now pushing towards the diesel engine now becuase at this point and time it is cheaper and more feasable for the general public to drive than many of the electric run cars. There is a VW car on the market that is diesel that gets 50+ miles to the gallon.

    Now the biodiesel, I've heard does not give you the power as does the green diesel. Which is what you get at the gas station. I personally love my diesel. Mines a few years old so it's a little loud but the 04 and 05 models are so quiet standing next to it you cannot tell it is a diesel, some you can't tell they are turned on.

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