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Using cash crops and volatile nuclear materials as alternative means of power in place of fossil fuels — who’d have thought?
That’s right, a couple of big buzz words in the automotive world are biodiesel and hydrogen fuel cell.
But what are they good for? (Does anyone else but me desperately want to insert, “…absolutely nothing” whenever they hear that question?)
Anyway, since hydrogen fuel cell cars are still greatly in the fetus stage of development, we’ll focus mostly on biodiesel here in this post. It could, after all, possibly be the solution for both new vehicles and for old. Yeah, that’s right, you can convert your current vehicle to biodiesel for a quite surprisingly cheap price.
Be sure to check out Part 1: “5 Reasons to Buy a Hybrid or Diesel Vehicle”.
What is Biodiesel?
BioDiesel.org answers with:
“Biodiesel is the name of a clean burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. It can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines with little or no modifications. Biodiesel is simple to use, biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics.”
Reasons to Consider Biodiesel
#1 – Cleaner
“Neat biodiesel (100% biodiesel) reduces carbon dioxide emissions by more than 75% over petroleum diesel. Using a blend of 20% biodiesel reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 15%. Blends of 20% biodiesel with 80% petroleum diesel (B20) can generally be used in unmodified diesel engines; however, users should consult their OEM and engine warranty statement.”
#2 – Certified
“Pure biodiesel (B100) is considered an alternative fuel under EPAct.” This is NOT true of biodiesel’s near cousin: ethanol.
#3 – Tax Credit
“Currently, there is a biodiesel tax incentive that is a federal tax credit. The credit equates to a one penny per percent of biodiesel in a fuel blend made from agricultural products like vegetable oils, and one-half penny per percent for recycled oils.” Read more about biodiesel tax credits and check into your state’s laws and incentives for using biodiesel.
#4 – Cost Effective
Using B-20 biodiesel (as an additive, not a gasoline replacement) doesn’t cost any more than conventional diesel fuel, according to the U.S. Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy alternative fuel price report. Unfortunately, B-100 (100% biodiesel, not an 80-20 blend of gasoline and biodiesel) costs an average of .65/gallon more than conventional diesel. Hopefully, that number will decrease as more stations begin to offer it.
In addition to obtaining biodiesel at a pump near you, there are rumors and tales of people taking used french fry grease off the hands of local fast food restaurants and using it as biodiesel… but more on that later.
Would you consider using biodiesel in your vehicle as a 20% blend, not costing you any more than you’re already paying at the pump?
I think every little step toward living green is an awesome one… but eco-snobbery sucks! My goal is to help newbies learn the most important steps toward living green — individually and collectively. Personally, I strive to have as little impact as possible on Planet Earth while I'm here.