Today’s world of “choice” for what you can use to power your vehicle may in fact cost you lots of money. As one man found out in Charlotte, NC simply promoting your independence from oil can cost you thousands of dollars. From the article,
“Bob Teixeira decided it was time to take a stand against U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
So last fall the Charlotte musician and guitar instructor spent $1,200 to convert his 1981 diesel Mercedes to run on vegetable oil. He bought soybean oil in 5-gallon jugs at Costco, spending about 30 percent more than diesel would cost. His reward, from a state that heavily promotes alternative fuels: a $1,000 fine last month for not paying motor fuel taxes.
He’s been told to expect another $1,000 fine from the federal government. And to legally use veggie oil, state officials told him, he would have to first post a $2,500 bond.”
I just received a package from India. Yes, I know it was a terribly long distance to order something for a green living site; but my buying options were extremely limited in the U.S. So, turning to Ebay, I managed to find what I was looking for fairly quickly. And now, after traveling thousands of miles, I have my first jatropha seeds.
What’s jatropha? It’s a small shrub that is being planted by the millions throughout China, India, and Brazil as an alternative to oil. What makes it unique in the biofuel industry is its ability to produce a great deal of oil that needs very little refinement. A one-metre hedge will produce one kilogram of seeds with each seed containing about 1/3 of oil. 5 kilograms of seeds will give you roughly one litre. It yields more than four times as much fuel per hectare as soybean, and more than ten times that of corn. It’s extremely easy to grow, lives up to 50 years and produces seeds for its whole lifetime. Furthermore, the species is drought-resistant, can be grown at high altitudes and can withstand slight frosts. In the right conditions, each plant can grow eight or ten meters in height!
Think picking the color of your new car is tough? Try picking a car that will still be road-worthy 20 years from now and use the latest and greatest in alternative fuel technology. Well, Volvo–the leader in ‘inherited’ vehicles–is solving that problem with a concept car that runs on FIVE different fuels. “The Volvo Multi-Fuel is a five-cylinder, 2.0-litre prototype car (200 bhp) that runs on five different fuels; hythane (10% hydrogen and 90% methane), biomethane, natural gas (CNG), bioethanol E85 (85% bioethanol and 15% petrol) and petrol.” This feature effectively allows you to run your car on any fuel source, anywhere in the world. “The idea is to make use of the fuels that are produced locally, says Mats Mor’n. This means that less fuel needs to be transported between continents, and you can fill up the car on the fuel that is available wherever you are.” Excellent idea and wonderful ‘transition’ vehicle towards whatever fuel becomes the standard down the road. Let’s hope this vehicle becomes a reality one day. Your unborn children one day heading to college will thank you for this fully functional “hand-me-down”!