I'm not certain when this information was released to the web, but I just discovered it today, via Propel Biofuels. The University of New Hampshire biodiesel group compared the energy use of six vehicles - a Jetta TDI using biodiesel, a Jetta TDI running on petroleum diesel, a Jetta 2.0L with a gasoline engine, a Toyota Prius burning gasoline, a Toyota Fuel Cell vehicle (hydrogen), and a Dodge ESX3 (diesel-hybrid) on biodiesel. But what's really missing from the chart is an explanation of what blend (if any) the biodiesel is.

Anyway, UNH found that the Prius costs less per mile to operate, but the biodiesel Jetta wins - by a lot - the fossil energy input/mile (OK, the Dodge ESX3 concept beats the biodiesel Jetta, but where you gonna find one?). A footnote explains that energy input per mile was "calculated based on 50/50 average fuel mileage and energy balance of creating fuel, using 3.2:1 for biodiesel (when made from soy), 0.83:1 for petroleum diesel, 0.74:1 for gasoline, and 0.5:1 for hydrogen (based on electrolysis of water)" so that it "equals (energy density of fuel )/[(fuel efficiency (mpg))*Energy balance]."

So, all you biodiesel fans and hybrid lovers, what does this chart say to you?

[Source: University of New Hampshire]

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