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Friday, April 30, 2004

I've been reading about biodiesel, a renewable fuel which is available today and works in production vehicles. Biodiesel is made from soybean or other vegetable oil, and can be made from waste grease from restaurants. It can be used in unmodified diesel engines, such as the TDI engine available in the Volkswagen Golf, Jetta, and New Beetle. These cars already get around 45 mpg on petroleum-based diesel, and reportedly get similar mileage on biodiesel. Rather than smelling like a truck stop, biodiesel exhaust reportedly smells like popcorn, and is much cleaner than regular diesel and cleaner than most gasoline exhaust as well. It also puts out much less global-warming-causing carbon dioxide than conventional vehicles do.

I'd like to be completely car free, but sometimes that puts severe limits on what I do. A 45-mpg car burning renewable biodiesel would remove a lot of my guilt about driving! So I'm looking around for a good used VW diesel car (never buy a new car!). There's a place about 20 miles from here that sells biodiesel. Since a diesel Golf has a range of about 500 miles, that shouldn't be a major problem. I could always fill a couple of extra cans, and use ordinary diesel in a pinch.