18 April 2006

Biodiesel America: A Fuel Alternative Worth Checking Out

I listened with great interest this afternoon to Allan Handelman's talk radio show about America's dependence on foreign (namely crude) oil and how it could all be avoided. Now, like so many others here, I have to give great pause when filling up my gasoline/petrol tank...and I am lucky as hell to live as close as I do to my workplace, so I only need to fill up twice a month these days. I also am insanely lucky to have a dependable light duty truck which has suffered well its owner (go, Argentio!) and I don't have children or endless errands to run. Except for the odd trip out of town (or more likely the odd trip out of state or even the country), I try my damnedest to stay and support my local businesses, vendors, and neighbours...and also limit my unnecessary consumption.

Now with $4/gallon USD gasoline/petrol predicted as early as this July, I know I am not alone with rediscovering a need to try and hem in even more on my expenses. While costs of living raises do not keep up, my creditors and others really could care less, so the cuts are going to have to come from somewhere. So it was with astonishing surprise that I learned today that biofuels...fuels that can be grown, recycled, refined and used in regular car engines, totally independent of crude oil...are not a thing of some sci-fi show on the future, but something that many people are using everyday, now. That perfectly normal people with cars far more costly and refined than my dear war horse are filling up, and operating on, fuels made from soybeans, corn, or even recycled cooking oil. And that their owners, savvy people that they are, are making such fuels themselves in some cases...and are doing so at a cost of about 50 cents/a gallon. That 50 cents a gallon is the equivalent of what most citizens in North Carolina pay alone in fuel taxes per gallon pumped, every time they fuel up at the local station.

I can't begin to do the whole thing justice, but for the sake of your peace of mind, independent spirit, and especially for the sake of your pocketbook, give the Biodiesel America site some serious exploring. It explains in great detail the many options being explored, which ones are easily viable now and where to find them, and the whole philosophy of why Americans should take control of their fuel consumption alternatives now...and not wait for the industry-affiliated politicians in Washington to (maybe, if ever) discover these alternatives.

The author and commentator on this is Josh Tickell and you can read his biography here.

I have one more bill to pay off (3 credit cards paid off this year already and also 4 other accounts as well...yeah budgeting and some sacrificing does work), and then I am seriously going to pursue this. From what I have read, it may be as simple as adjusting my truck's engine computer to a different fuel/air exchange ratio (which I could get a mechanic to do for me) and then finding fuel that I can buy here locally. You also can contact dealers and buy it in drums for safe storage in a garage or patio or deck, as it's far safer than regular fuels. I may even return to the 'scene of the crime', so to speak to find my future motherload: my former job at a movie local theatre...supposedly used popcorn oil can be especially well used as a biofuel and, as it has been used already, can be easily found and may be even free to acquire. And, Lord knows, these days, I'm all about free.

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