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Chris Phillips, a 39-year-old in Hartford, Connecticut, recently spent $1,600 to convert his 2005 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Wagon into a grease car. Not that he's running on VegOil, he figures he can pretty much drive for free for the life of the car. What attracted me to this story in the Hartford Advocate was the way that this green car story so comfortably fits into the Advocate's "My Ride" series of locals and their vehicles of choice.

Phillips told his hometown paper that he used a conversion from greasecar.com and paid a mechanic at Evergreen Motors in Greenfield, Mass. who "has done more installs than anybody else" to install it after Phillips realized he couldn't do it all himself (On another website, Phillips says the paper misquoted him a little bit, but doesn't say where or how much).

In the summer months, Phillips uses what sounds like pure biodiesel in the starter tank. He uses B50 now that it's colder out and gets 40-45 mpg on whatever fuel he's using. He has a different scale for "petro-miles," though, and says he can get "hundreds of miles per diesel fuel gallon."

[Source: Hartford Advocate]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 8 Comments
      • 1 Month Ago
      Leszek- You’re absolutely right! Currently, no ONE fuel can do it all. Ultimately, renewable electric from solar, wind, wave etc. or maybe even fusion will the planet’s prime power source. For now we have to displace as much fossil and then liquid fuel as possible one step at a time. Bio-diesel/Electric PHEVs are the most logical "short term" alternative. As the technology for electric storage and renewable production improves, we will become less and less dependant on "liquid" fuels until one day they will be gone forever. The “Hydrogen Economy” is a fantasy, ruse, red haring, and lie. http://www.oilcrash.com/articles/h_scam.htm Then again, so is corn ethanol http://petroleum.berkeley.edu/papers/patzek/CRPS416-Patzek-Web.pdf
      • 1 Month Ago
      If I'm not mistaken, B50 is a mixture of 50% biodiesel and 50% pump diesel. So unless he is stealing the pump diesel, he is not running the car for free.
      • 1 Month Ago
      Tim wrote (#2): "Ultimately, renewable electric from solar, wind, wave etc. or maybe even fusion will the planet’s prime power source."

      What about fission?
      http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf16.htm
      • 1 Month Ago
      5.
      "Jimmy- You don't trust Berekley? Show me a competing study with equal detail. "

      Check the articles from the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at Berkeley, esp. the review article on ethanol in Science (that would be the prestigious, peer reviewed journal) on January 27, 2006. They specifically mention inaccurate assumptions and the use of outdated, inaccurate and poorly documented data in Patzek and Pimentel's ethanol studies. The article and all of the Science article data is on their web site, along with the published letter to Science, including Patzek's rather vague response.

      I think I have read that Pimentel has moderated his stance on biodiesel at least. As far as I know Patzek is still a dedicated petroleum researcher.

      "By the way, what do you think about the information provided on the Hydrogen scam link?"

      I agree that hydrogen isn't a very practical energy carrier. However, I must say that overall the "oilcrash" website is alarmist and irrational.
      • 1 Month Ago
      #2 Once again, Patzek's studies are flawed and the majority of scientific research conflict with his conclusions. He exists because of petroleum money and the media's desire to have a controversy.
      • 1 Month Ago
      #1: Yup, some of the local BD brewers are already finding it difficult to get used oil. While an ethically attractive source, it's very limited. As #2 says, no one solution will work, but a combination of many will help.
      • 1 Month Ago
      Jimmy- You don't trust Berekley? Show me a competing study with equal detail. In other words... talk is cheap, PROVE IT! I’ll antie-up Here’s another study. http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/July05/ethanol.toocostly.ssl.html Not good enough? How about http://www.mda.state.mn.us/ethanol/balance.html. By the way, what is the price of corn ethanol once you factor in the billions in gov't subsities to growers, processors, etc? FACTS: Corn severely depletes the soil. What about fertilizers killing our rivers & streams? What about all the wasted cellilose that can't currently be utilized? Wouldn’t it be better to produce bio-diesel from a plant that doesn’t waste so much energy building a support structure like… say algea? http://www.autobloggreen.com/2006/11/23/more-on-the-concepts-behind-biodiesel-made-from-algae/

      By the way, what do you think about the information provided on the Hydrogen scam link?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Yes, it's free, right up to the point where so many people want it that suppliers start charging for it. More than that, recycled vegoil can supply only a small fraction of our transportation energy requirements. George Monbiot estimates that in the UK, recycled vegoil could supply only 1/380th of annual road transport energy requirements.

      http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2004/11/23/feeding-cars-not-people/

      As for other sources of biodiesel, Monbiot has published at length about how he believes that biodiesel is not only insufficient to meet our energy needs, but is counterproductive:

      http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2005/12/06/worse-than-fossil-fuel/