March 11th, 2008
I’ve added a new blog to my blogroll, Save Fuel – Save Money today. I don’t know about your locality, but gas is pushing $4 a gallon right here in my neck of the woods right now, and will probably go to $5 a gallon before summer tourist season hits. Or, more likely, doesn’t hit this year due to the prohibitive cost of gasoline. Which as of this morning, March 11, 2008, is trading on the futures market for $109 a barrel. It probably won’t be coming down.
Sure, Europe has had $5 gasoline for years now, but Europe’s not all that big. One can drive from one end of a country to the other in a few hours, and most European countries have reliable and comfortable mass transit systems. Things we don’t have in the U.S. if you don’t happen to live on either the right or left coasts. Worse, it takes me as many hours to drive to my own state’s coast as it takes me to drive to Florida and visit relatives! It takes two long driving days to visit Mom in Oklahoma, and I’ve friends in Arizona and California I haven’t seen in years because it’s just too far away.
I bought a well-kept almost-vintage Mercedes sedan a couple of years ago for less than $2,000. It needs some rear end work, and we’ve had to replace engine parts here and there, but its biggest asset (to me) is that it’s a diesel. I can buy biodiesel in my nearest city because they run all their city buses and truck fleets on biodiesel. Unfortunately, it still costs a full dollar more than petroleum diesel. Why is that?
In our attempts to reduce our dependence on foreign supplies of fossil fuels, biodiesel seems like a pretty easy fix. I live near a rail line, over which I see literally hundreds of tank cars a day moving thousands of gallons of vegetable (and sometimes animal) oil per car. We can recycle old engine oil, used fry grease, even rendered road kill (and slaughterhouse leftovers, and animal shelter victims) to make biodiesel. But who will use it – or ethanol, which isn’t such a great environmental deal – if it consistently costs a lot more than petroleum? Doesn’t that defeat the whole plan?
We’ll be taking a closer look at fuels over the next few months, but in the meantime readers will get a lot of good information on trends and technologies from the Save Fuel blog. Check it out!